***Post written by Annastashia Teepe, Southeast representative for WSPA***
As the school year begins to draw to a close for many school staff members across the state, it may be necessary to assess the mental health and wellbeing of our team members. School administrators, teachers, crisis responders, and mental health personnel who assist children and other adults in the school community are at risk for stress as they take on crisis intervention and work to assist others in who are faced with crisis, tragedy or other forms of mental health distress (National Association of School Psychologists, 2017). Signs to be on the lookout for in your team members include physical symptoms (fatigue and exhaustion, difficulty attending, confusion, restlessness and difficulty completing job related tasks), emotional symptoms (excessive worry, anxiety, distancing from others, anger or extreme frustration), or social symptoms (extreme irritability, social withdrawal, isolation, absenteeism) (NASP, 2017). When working with a team member who is demonstrating significant changes in behavior or mood keep in mind that such symptoms may be in response to burnout or stress and support can come through providing information regarding policies for accessing mental health services and Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and encouraging staff to meet their own mental health needs (NASP, 2017). Promoting physical self-care, mental and emotional self-care and social well-being and connection are ways in which we can continue to support our team members as we end the school year (NASP, 2017).
National Association of School Psychologists. (2017). Care for the caregiver: guidelines for administrators and crisis teams. [handout]. Bethesda, MD: Author.