I would certainly like to hear a measured response from a Director to the issue that Janice has brought forward.
Other issues to add to the debate might include:
a.) different countries have different Mental Health policies,
b.) the presence (or lack thereof) of good quality health care in general might preclude a Director from selecting someone with health issues (including mental health, so it could be very dangerous to refrain from mentioning it), and
c.) the terrible stigmas attached to mental health (why do people with back problems attract sympathy, and people with mental health issues attract savagery?).
From my understanding, an American psychiatrist would likely insist upon institutionalization. An Australian psychiatrist would likely insist upon acclimatization, and re-integration (with help). A UK psychiatrist might choose either option. The choices for all are political.
I have to wonder if a teacher who has been institutionalized at any point is at a disadvantage. Can Search demand records of institutionalization? Doesn’t this open to question the possibility that teachers will not look after themselves while abroad if they understand the consequences of seeking help for Mental Illness?
Thank you for taking this further.
Thank you so much for your questions. They are very compelling.
I am Canadian so my response will be from that perspective. I would hope that Directors and teachers abroad who are American, UK or other and who have had experiences with the Mental Health issues you have raised, will respond from the perspective of their country’s policies so that we might begin to have develop an online open discussion spanning a broad overview of International experience. If we receive no responses, then I suspect the stigma Janice alluded to in her letter may be affecting how safe our readers feel in responding to your questions. This eventuality, in and of itself, would be a very telling and compelling result.
FYI and for the information of those International directors and teachers who might wish to respond, ISR respects the confidentiality of its readers. Certain elements of letters sent in by teachers/directors who may be recognizable and who wish not to be, are changed prior to publication in order to ensure that those who participate in open debate are protected.
The Charter of Human Right in Canada prohibits discrimination against a person with a diagnosed Mental Health disorder. Failure to protect this Human Right is a serious offence and is prosecutable under Federal Law. I have to wonder what might happen if a Canadian Search Organization were to demand disclosure from a potential Canadian teacher of their Mental Health history while in both were located in Canada. I would suspect that an incident of this sort would become fodder for a Human Rights investigation and possible prosecution.
In Canada, personal medical records are protected under FOIP, “Freedom of Information and Privacy Act”. School records of Canadian employees also fall under FOIP. Whether you choose to disclose your medical history or not is your private business. While I have been requested to produce a letter from my physician stating that I am healthy, and I have also been requested to produce test results for Hep A and B, Aids, and other highly contagious medical problems, I have never been asked for a Mental Health certificate. Nor would I produce one external to what my doctor says about me within a full Medical Examination report for an organization.
Again, thank you for your participation in discussion of this serious issue.