Mental health training helps teachers cope, together
Since January the Children’s Academy has been closed due to insecurity and gang activity in the area near the school. Needless to say, this has caused a major strain on everyone, including the Children’s Academy staff.
In the hopes of addressing this, we recently organized a gathering for the teaching staff at the school. It was done with help from Life is Good, a long-time training partner of ours in Haiti, and over 25 teachers participated. The goal of the gathering was four-fold:
- Raise awareness about the mental health of the entire team.
- Encourage the teachers to take care of themselves before returning to their classrooms.
- Provide the group tools to help them cope with the stress and hardship resulting from the country’s current socio-political turmoil.
- Acquaint the newer teachers with the “vibe” of Life is Good.
Afterwards, we gathered a few remarks and feedback:
- “Connecting with the teachers made me smile again despite the difficult times.”
- “I have been unfortunate. During [this activity] the sadness didn’t go away, but I felt like I was starting to recover.”
- “The teachers enjoyed this moment, and they were able to relax and unwind. They were happy to see each other and participated in all the activities. The teachers from Bawosya appeared more traumatized, but they still participated in all activities.
At the end of the meeting, everyone began to receive text messages from family and friends telling them to stay where they were because there was gang activity happening in several neighborhoods and traveling wouldn’t be safe. According to one of our Pedagogy Directors, “Immediately, one could see the damage this information caused on people’s faces. It was a big panic.”
While this was a disappointing conclusion to the day, the group left better connected to one another and better prepared to manage the psychological stress that comes with the situation they are living through. Even if only a momentary respite, we were grateful for this opportunity.