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Helping teachers support their mental health

Dr. Marti Erickson offers up advice to teachers as they step back into the classroom.

MINNEAPOLIS — Teachers are stepping into jobs they love surrounded by uncertainty this year. 

"We have every child who's coming to school, whether it's in person or online, dealing with things that none of us have ever dealt with right now," says Dr. Marti Erickson. "Teachers are usually relying on their teaching jobs not only as their livelihood but also it's a calling for most of the teachers I know."

Dr. Erickson is a developmental psychologist and host of the podcast MomEnough

She says brief moments to yourself throughout the day as a teacher can be really helpful when it comes mental health. 

"I know teachers who will take a walk during their breaks which are few and far between, I realize, but again every little bit matters," Dr. Erickson says.

As teachers step back into the classroom, whether in-person or virtual, Dr. Erickson says banding together as teachers is hugely important.

Something that, she says, is often established from the top. 

"I would give a call out to the people in charge in schools and school districts to make sure that teachers have prep time and also support time," says Dr. Erickson.

Whatever the structure is in their district, Dr. Erickson says this is a time for teachers to know they don't need to be perfect, and that their work truly matters. 

"Pat yourself on the back and know that you are doing just the most important work in the world. There is nothing more important than raising this next generation and parents don't ever do that alone – teachers play a huge part. So, give yourself a lot of credit and celebrate that every time you can," she says. 

Dr. Erickson says there's no shame in seeking out a therapist to help support you with your mental health if you need it.