What role do teachers play in identifying mental illness?

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
What role do teachers play in identifying mental illness?
3
Fri, 03-15-2013 - 1:57pm

A bill was introduced in the Texas legislature would allow teachers to volunteer for mental health training:

Participating teachers would be trained to recognize warning signs for a variety of serious mental illness, such as depression, trauma, bipolar disorder, psychosis and severe anxiety, and work with parents to coordinate care.

Read more: http://www.theeagle.com/news/local/article_f50f31ea-fbf0-5574-900f-1497b412a039.html?TNNoMobile

I also found an article with differing opinions from the public: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/03/10/4673155/all-points-a-teachers-role-in.html

I'm honestly not sure how I feel about this.  While I think some teachers would benefit from the training, I worry that there will be the ones that will try to diagnose children on their own.  

What do you think?

Avatar for ubergeek
Community Leader
Registered: 09-23-2010

Cmmelissa wrote:

A bill was introduced in the Texas legislature would allow teachers to volunteer for mental health training:

Participating teachers would be trained to recognize warning signs for a variety of serious mental illness, such as depression, trauma, bipolar disorder, psychosis and severe anxiety, and work with parents to coordinate care.

Read more: http://www.theeagle.com/news/local/article_f50f31ea-fbf0-5574-900f-1497b412a039.html?TNNoMobile

I also found an article with differing opinions from the public: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/03/10/4673155/all-points-a-teachers-role-in.html

I'm honestly not sure how I feel about this. While I think some teachers would benefit from the training, I worry that there will be the ones that will try to diagnose children on their own.

What do you think?

I'm for it. In my own experience a teacher would be more apt at stating something is wrong vs. half the results you get from 30-90 minute evals. They are with the kids every day and notice changes. Giving them tools to better say "ok, it's not just normal hormone moodiness" IMO would benefit all. Yes, you're going to get those who will diagnose all willy-nilly, but again, IMO, we've gotten that from professional mental health doctors. 

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
You've made some very good points. Training the teachers could also make them more aware of the characteristics of different disorders, so they'll be making more informed recommendations or suggestions to parents.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-04-2001

I teach privately and used to be at a school for kids with special educational needs. I would never ever diagnose nor even suggest a child had a "mental illness" or even a learning disability. All I would do with a child not diagnosed would be to let the parents and director know of the specific behaviors that were a concern, or academic problems. Once I did go so far as to ask if the child had recently had his vision tested, and relate a story about my own daughter.

On the other hand, I have, at times, TOTALLY disagreed with a child's diagnosis. For instance, a boy was labeled with "ODD - Oppositional Defiance Disorder". I did not see that in him whatsoever--at least not in my class. What I saw was he a sweet kid that sometimes he felt so overwhelmed he COULD NOT comply. HOWEVER, I am also well aware that it was just MY perception, in my class, and his parents and some other teachers saw a very different side of hiim.

There have been times I WISH I would have said something! Like one sweet spacey boy with depression acted very much autistic with flapping hands each time the kids got a Tootsie roll or chocolate Kiss.  Again, I was too intimidated to come out and state anything. I am a wimp.. Chicken. A coward. I know how bristling parents can be... and... parents can act totally crazy!  I say I have no problems with the children - it is the parents I don't want to deal with!

But even so, I would never "identify mental illness" because even the mental health PROFESSIONALS seem to get it wrong half the time... at least according to one of the psychiatrists my daughters had, who now heads up a psychiatric hospital. He said over 50% of patients diagnosed with Bipolar doesn't have it - it is something else. What else, you may ask? Well - thyroid problem, food sensitivities, Celiac, Adrenal issue, sleep disorder, the need for methylated B12 and methylated folate (common genetic variance - MTHFR) ... See Some Known Medical Causes of “Mental” Symptoms


www. It's Not Mental .com