Social and emotional well-being is critical to overall health
Teachers and other school employees consistently report high levels of occupational stress. Though different for each individual employee, common sources of stress include high job demand and working with limited resources. School employees can also experience “vicarious trauma,” which refers to the emotional strain that results from working with students who have experienced stressful or traumatic events.
Schools are increasingly aware of the importance of social-emotional health and the impact of chronic adversity and chronic trauma. Schools and districts that support the social and emotional well-being and resilience of their employees are likely to have a workforce with lower levels of stress, improved school employee attendance, and an increased ability to model positive emotions for students. Furthermore, they see lower levels of teacher turnover related to burnout.
Supporting the social and emotional well-being and resilience of teachers and staff is critical for creating a positive school climate and retaining quality educators. Wellness programs in schools build a culture of health that can benefit everyone in the school community.
Kaiser Permanente Thriving Schools developed Resilience in School Environments, or RISE, to empower schools to create safe and supportive learning environments by cultivating practices that strengthen the social and emotional health of all students and staff. RISE works with schools and districts to prepare school staff to better understand and integrate social and emotional well-being into all aspects of school life, both theirs and their students.
Support School Employee Social & Emotional Well-Being
Schools and districts can support employees’ social and emotional well-being and resilience in a variety of ways. Some examples include:
- Promoting a support network between staff members
- Involving administrators and support staff for short relief breaks (5-10 minutes) to allow teachers to relieve tension when a disciplinary issue arises
- Identifying partner/mentor teachers where students can go for additional emotional support
- Redesigning staff breakrooms
- Train employees in trauma-informed practices, which improve employees’ ability to effectively support their students
- Exploring our Resilience in School Environments (RISE) tools and resources
Social & Emotional
Trauma-informed Practices and Policies
Review the guides offered by the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative that outline how to incorporate trauma-informed practices and policies into your school.
Teacher Stress and Health
This issue brief, created by the Pennsylvania State University with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, explores the need for research, practice, and policy on social and emotional learning to support the health of teachers, students, and schools.
Stress Management Toolkit
Help school employees manage their stress with this no-cost, eight-week program developed by Kaiser Permanente.