Doctors can help teachers recharge, lessen burnout

May 12, 2023 12:46 pm
Portrait of burnout woman working/e-learning at home and video conferencing

(Getty Images)

Dr. Leah Joseph, Teladoc Health

Summer vacation beckons a spirit of rest, not only for students but for teachers, who crave the respite as much (if not more) than their students. 

We’ve all seen the headlines time and again — our educators are overworked, and in turn, their mental health may be compromised. In the United States, 59% of teachers and 48% of principals said they very often or always feel burned out at work. That’s an alarming stat, as these individuals have the responsibility of shaping future generations.

Personally, I have seen the impact on my patients who are teachers and educators. My parents were educators, and the burnout is real and all too common. Luckily, with summer break around the corner, this is my encouragement for all the teachers to hear. It’s time to recharge and take control of your health. Doctor’s orders. 

Summer is a prime time to catch up on prioritizing primary care appointments. Keeping up with your primary care provider (PCP) can help mitigate a plethora of illnesses, stress and overall burnout. However, even with some time outside of the classroom, it can be hard to get appointments with a PCP, and even harder to schedule follow-up appointments.

Telehealth is making it easier than ever to keep up with healthcare needs. It allows providers to meet patients where they are when it’s easiest for them, whether that’s on their couch after grading papers or in their classroom during their lunch hour. Quick and highly accessible appointments make it easier than ever to take a proactive approach to your health. 

Here are the three ways I encourage teachers and educators to use telehealth to manage stress and burnout: 

#1: Have a relationship with your primary care provider.

As a primary care provider, I can be a much better resource for my patients when we have an established relationship where I can understand all the factors that may be impacting their health. When I see patients regularly, they feel more comfortable opening up about their life. In turn, I can provide personalized recommendations that are right for them, based on things like stress, diet, and sleep habits.

My patients can make an appointment to talk to me via phone or video, at a time that is convenient for them. This eliminates the time and geographical constraints so that we can focus on what’s important – their health.

#2: Understand all of the options.

Once we establish a relationship and create a game plan, I can help connect my patients to all the services they need, starting with a virtual visit. 

You may think telemedicine can only help with urgent care needs, but there are so many care options that we can offer, all from your phone or computer. From mental health professionals, to nutrition coaches and dermatologists, you can start to address many aspects of your health without ever needing to step foot inside a doctor’s office.

#3: Manage stress.

Summer can be a busy and stressful time for many people. Digital health tools can help to optimize care in a way that meets your unique needs. No two individuals are the same when it comes to their health and mental health is no exception. 

It’s important to point out that individual health needs fluctuate in type and magnitude over time. I believe firmly in a whole-person care approach that brings all aspects of physical and mental health together in one place. This is another benefit of telehealth. Personalized experiences, whether that be primary care, chronic care, dermatology, nutrition services and more all from one place can help, seamlessly, with all aspects of health. 

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