Where is the demand supporting teachers with mental health and substance abuse issues?
We live in a country that;
Major Depression Disorder affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.
Anxiety Disorder affects approximately 40 million American adults ages 18 and older, or about 18.1 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have an anxiety disorder.
Dysthymic Disorder affects approximately 1.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.1, This figure translates to about 3.3 million American adults.
Panic Disorder affects approximately 6 million American adults ages 18 and older, or about 2.7 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have panic disorder.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder affects approximately 7.7 million American adults age 18 and older, or about 3.5 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have PTSD.
Alcohol Abuse; 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence along with several million more who engage in risky drinking patterns that could lead to alcohol problems.
So one has to figure that of almost 80,000 teachers in NYC, that statistically teachers skew towards the general population and fit the above numbers.
Yet nothing is done. There is no help for teachers, for staff that are facing the above DISEASES. Yes, the above are diseases. The above are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Yet, teachers and staff are left to go it alone. No support, no where to turn for help, and no one to admit it to. We can't even trust who we consider our "best friend" in our schools.
Yeah, we all know the old argument, "We can't let these people near our children." Then if so, any parent suffering with the above diseases should lose their parental rights, no? Or even better, why can the NYPD offer services to its own?
NYPD offers two services that The Crack Team know of. There is the Early Intervention Unit which offers peer intervention and support. For police officers suffering from the disease of alcohol abuse there is what is known as "The Farm," in which police officers are given the chance of rehab.
But, and please this is no attack against police officers, cops carry guns. Not just regular hand guns, but other weapons as well. A cop is your first line of defense or your first line at the criminal justice system. Do not cops carry the burden of "your life is in their hands?" Just as important as the jobs teachers do, and possibly even more so.
Yet we all the pressures over teachers over the last ten years, all the top down pressure put on them, the abuse, mental and physical, where can a teacher turn to? Where is our support system other than being told to "suck it up and deal with it?"
There are too many teachers swimming against the tide, too many teachers who feel isolated, to many teachers that are drowning inside, too many teachers that are crying for support, for a friend, for help starting the next day and nothing is being done.
Teachers are no super heroes. We have real feelings and real emotions. If you prick us, do we not bleed? Or are we supposed to keep our blood inside?
For the UFT and the DOE to work together on this would be groundbreaking. That's why The Crack Team is calling on the MORE caucus to lead the way in adding this onto its contract demands and to bring this up in the next DA.
We are our brothers and sisters keepers.