Taking time off work for depression

Hi all,

I'm new to this website and am wondering what others think. I am 20 years old and will be attending placement in a primary school full time for the whole of next year. As this is part of my university degree, I am worried that my illness will have a detrimental effect. I have taken a lot of time off university itself, but I cannot wake up most days and decide that I can't attend my placement when it is a fantastic opportunity that I will not get again.

I'm really worried about it as there's been a few messages about if we have problems with the staff, pupils etc that we have someone to talk to, but there's been absolutely no mention of any mental health support available to us during this stressful time. It will be my first time teaching full-time.

I've only been on my antidepressant medication for 23 days, despite having the illness for a number of years, so I am truly hoping I have improved by August 2016.

Thanks for taking the time to read my ramble,


8 Replies

  • Hello! I'm a 23 year old college student and have been battling depression for like 7 years. Be sure to pace yourself and don't put more stuff on your schedule than you can handle. I don't know if you can take medical leave of absence for depression at your school, but dont be afraid to do so if needed and if that is an option. Take care!

  • Thank you for the reply, I'll try my best. Take care too!

  • Hi Lois

    l do hope the medication helps you and you can find someone within the establishment to talk to should you need it.

    All the best .

  • Thank you very much, I'll definitely look into it.

    All the best to you too

  • It's early days with your medication. I'm sure you will feel more stable soon. If not, go back to your GP and ask for more help. Take care of yourself and keep in touch. This is a very helpful and kind site. Regards Lorna

  • Hi Lorna, thank you for the advice, it's difficult when you've debated taking action for years and then you finally do and you naively expect it to work immediately! I will keep in touch, I can already feel the kindness from you all!

  • Hi Lois,

    I am a primary teacher and often mentor trainee teachers in my class - I love it! If your university is anything like the ones around here then you should have a teacher mentor (usually the teacher whose class you are in) who gives you support while you are with them - advice on planning, being more confident in the classroom, who is there to support you and listen to you etc. Tell the teacher what you feel comfortable telling them and trust them to support you.

    Quite often you can get your personal tutor ( I assume you have one of you are at university) to talk to the school and tell them that you are a bit worried about the placement and would appreciate extra support (they can tell your school mentor as much or as little as you want).

    It is my experience that lots of teachers are huge worriers and it is the nature of the job that even the most experienced teachers need someone to talk to from time to time (I have been known to cry in my heads office). Most teachers will understand where you are coming from if you do need someone to talk to - they've all been there and know how hard and stressful a PGCE, BEdetc are!

    Dont forget how amazing it is to work with children in primary school - you have the honour of being a HUGE part of their lives. It's about them, not about you - don't listen to those negative thoughts - say to them 'nice try but it's not about you, it's about these children here and I can make a difference'. It's empowering. I teach a mixed Nursery and Reception class and when I look at how much they learn/ do everyday - learning to read, write, play, problem solve - I feel overwhelmed with the difference I make. It is so much bigger than what's going on in my head.

    I think suffering with depression gives you a really powerful opportunity to think "I don't ever want what's happening to me to happen to one of these children" and you can build up these children's self-esteem, you can give them opportunities to be independent (the best skill you can give a 3/4 year old), you can support them in having a growth mindset (Carol Dwek, read it if you haven't already).

    If you let depression win then it will be detrimental but if you remember why you're doing this and think about the difference you can and want to make (I assume you are training to teach because you want to make a difference and not because you think you get loads of holidays and a lots of money....) then you just have to throw yourself into it - get up everyday and think 'I can do this'.

    Please let us know how you get on - sorry to waffle.


  • Thank you so much for that Ella. I have a feeling I will reread this reply a lot.

    We have been told we will have a mentor of some sort, so yes I think I will let them know. I will keep you all updated.

    Thank you so much again.

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