‘Some messages have been just sobbing’: phone line helps headteachers with burden of Covid

A group of former heads have set up a vital service for colleagues with nowhere to turn

For Alex Barnes*, head of a large secondary school in Yorkshire, the stresses of being in charge in the pandemic became too much. Last spring, just at the end of the first lockdown, she reached breaking point. “The demands were coming at me from every angle,” she says. “Worried parents bombarding me with questions, teachers and their unions demanding assurances that the school was safe. I became desperately worried that I’d be responsible for a rise in infections.

“One night I went home to my husband and said, ‘I don’t think I can do this any more.’ The look of shock on his face. He had never heard me speak like that before.”

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Category: Mental Health