First full-service mental health center for SLPS teachers opens at Yeatman Middle School

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 10:22 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) -A North City school’s wish to provide a safe space dedicated to teachers and their mental health is now a reality.

“Being a support for students who don’t necessarily have all the support that they need definitely takes a toll on you,” says teacher, Lillian Randall.

Randall teaches math and science at Yeatman-Liddell Middle School. The school is the first to have a full-service self-care wellness center to help educators deal with stress on the job.

“There’s a place you can have peace in the midst of all the noise, Randall says. There’s a lot of need here and it requires a lot of compassion. You develop compassion fatigue. A lot students are going through things that are just unfathomable.”

The mental health room includes calming scents, a massage chair, relaxing music, bonsai trees, and candles.

It was gifted to Yeatman thanks to the Little Bit Foundation and Centene.

“It came about as result of surveys that were taken from teachers who experienced or expressed that they were stressed out,” says Principal, Christopher Crumble.

Crumble tells First Alert 4 this outlet will help them keep teachers.

“There is a national crisis as it pertains to teacher retention and Little Bit through providing this space is allowing us a lifeline to extend to our teachers,” Crumble says.

Full-Service Director, Dr. Melissa Nash, championed the idea to put it on their wish list.

“The Little Bit Foundation their goal is to break barriers and there was a barrier in regards to the self-care piece in regards to the teachers, “says Dr. Melissa Nash of St. Louis Public Schools.

“Our teachers are not just teachers, sometimes they’re therapists. Sometimes they’re social workers so it’s just a high demand placed on teachers in this particular building, says Crumble. I think that’s where the bulk of the stress comes from.

“If you are not well, healthy and safe, you cannot be well, healthy and safe for the students that you serve,” says Dr. Nash.

St. Louis Public Schools plans to add more full-service self-care rooms for teachers districtwide.

“Walking into this room it’s like, ‘Oh wow there is somebody. Someone was thinking about us’, says Randall. “There’s a lot of hope here and so I really want people to know that about Yeatman.”