In New Brief, Teach Plus Indiana Policy Fellows Focus on Systemic Support for Educator Mental Health

In New Brief, Teach Plus Indiana Policy Fellows Focus on Systemic Support for Educator Mental Health

Teachers Underscore the Need for Action from School and District Leaders, as well as State Policymakers

Indianapolis, September 16, 2022—Research shows that teachers experience burnout at higher rates than nearly any other professionals. As teachers embark on the first seemingly ‘normal’ school year after three years directly affected by COVID-19, workplace uncertainties, concerns about their students’ mental health and academic progress, and the lingering stresses of the possibility of COVID-19 outbreaks in their buildings are exacerbating educators’ mental health challenges. In their new brief, Meaningful Support for Teacher Mental Health: Recommendations from Teach Plus Indiana Policy Fellows, Teach Plus teacher leaders set forth a series of recommendations for school, district, and state leaders to fully support the mental health of teachers so that they, in turn, can be better positioned to support Indiana’s students.

“Investing in Indiana teachers’ mental health is good for teachers, directly benefits students, and can help alleviate Indiana’s critical teacher shortage by ensuring that more teachers remain in our classrooms. To ensure our teachers are at their best, our school, district, and state leaders need to implement comprehensive solutions to mitigate teachers’ mental health challenges at every level of the education system,” said Teach Plus Indiana Executive Director Rachel Hathaway.

To better understand how Indiana teachers’ mental health has been impacted by the pandemic and what support they are receiving to-date from school and district leadership, Teach Plus teacher leaders conducted focus groups and analyzed feedback from over 90 educators from across the state. They found that, when it comes to mental health, Indiana’s teachers need more substantive support and concrete action from their school leaders. Indiana teachers also reported that the additional responsibilities they have taken on during COVID and their lack of time are most detrimental to their mental health and that they want more transparency when it comes to school and district new policies and expectations.

Teach Plus teacher leaders’ recommendations are:

  1. School leaders should ensure educators have time off when needed, provide mental health support, and cultivate a school culture that prioritizes self-care.
  2. District leaders should ensure mental health services are included in benefit packages.
  3. State policymakers should allocate funding to support mental health services for educators and prioritize policies that set manageable staff to student ratios.

“Burned out teachers cannot give their best to students. With the stress of substitute teacher shortages and continually having to adapt to support students academically, mentally, and emotionally in this first more normal school year, teachers will need mental health support,” said Annika Miller, a teacher in Goshen, Indiana and one of the authors of the brief. “They are the first domino in making a positive change.”

Isaac Adjei, an educator in Warren Township in Indianapolis and one of the brief’s authors, shared, “Now that we understand how important the role mental health plays in the ability for educators to do their jobs effectively, it is imperative that we invest back into the profession. Not only will this address the problem of teacher burnout, but it will also send a message to educators that we value them.”

About Teach Plus
The mission of Teach Plus is to empower excellent, experienced, and diverse teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success. Since 2009, Teach Plus has developed thousands of teacher leaders across the country to exercise their leadership in shaping education policy and improving teaching and learning, to create an education system driven by access and excellence for all.


Contact: Anya Grottel-Brown,, 917-902-5902