dazzienine
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I'm hoping to do a teacher training course next academic year after I graduate university. I feel I'd be very good and I am also incredibly passionate about the subject (English).

In 2018, I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. This happened in a very brief meeting with a psychiatrist after I was referred for some mental health support after I nearly lost my life to pneumonia and was struggling with the aftermath / trauma.

Personally, I don't particularly feel the diagnosis suits me, but either way I am being assessed for therapy and am on medication. For the past year I have been stable (medication was upped for anxiety due to the pandemic and being high risk but I am due to stop my anti-depressants soon, and any teaching course I start won't be for roughly another year anyway).

My mental health is managed and supported, and I do not feel it would hinder my ability to be a good teacher.

However, will declaring this diagnosis deem me unfit to teach? I am aware the illness has a lot of negative stigma surrounding it which is why I am so nervous. I feel I am finally in a place in my life where I'm excited for the future and I am upset at the thought of being unable to pursue the career I want to do because of my mental health (which, as I said, is being treated / managed with a care plan).

Has anyone got any advice or words of reassurance for me?

Thanks.
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nicalibres
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Hi, I'm in the exact same boat as you are -want to be an English teacher, have BPD- except I'm not that stable lol.

Afaik the diagnosis shouldn't affect your fitness to teach, but I'm worried that schools or unis might look at it and think 'hmm, maybe not'. I'm thinking of not declaring it tbh - I don't think it shows up on the enhanced DBS check, anyway.

I'm sorry I can't really give you advice as such, but I'll be watching this thread as I've been worrying about the exact same thing.
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Get into Teaching
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(Original post by dazzienine)
I'm hoping to do a teacher training course next academic year after I graduate university. I feel I'd be very good and I am also incredibly passionate about the subject (English).

In 2018, I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. This happened in a very brief meeting with a psychiatrist after I was referred for some mental health support after I nearly lost my life to pneumonia and was struggling with the aftermath / trauma.

Personally, I don't particularly feel the diagnosis suits me, but either way I am being assessed for therapy and am on medication. For the past year I have been stable (medication was upped for anxiety due to the pandemic and being high risk but I am due to stop my anti-depressants soon, and any teaching course I start won't be for roughly another year anyway).

My mental health is managed and supported, and I do anot feel it would hinder my ability to be a good teacher.

However, will declaring this diagnosis deem me unfit to teach? I am aware the illness has a lot of negative stigma surrounding it which is why I am so nervous. I feel I am finally in a place in my life where I'm excited for the future and I am upset at the thought of being unable to pursue the career I want to do because of my mental health (which, as I said, is being treated / managed with a care plan).

Has anyone got any advice or words of reassurance for me?

Thanks.
Hello dazzienine

Aspiring Teachers are asked to complete a fitness to teach assessment once they are made an offer of a place on a teacher training course. This is due to the duty of care that you'll have towards the children you'll teach, and as the course provider you are learning to teach with has a duty of care towards you. It's there mostly to assess any specific needs that you may have to enable you to be the best teacher that you can be, and that includes supporting good mental health. It isn't anything to be afraid of, and nothing that ought to put you off from striving to reach your goal of becoming a teacher. As 1 in 4 people suffer from poor mental health in their life-limes, it's not something that is unknown of in schools and actually your own understanding of methods of managing anxiety could significantly benefit some of the children you may teach!

Be brave, be authentic and be kind!

Jane
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by dazzienine)
I'm hoping to do a teacher training course next academic year after I graduate university. I feel I'd be very good and I am also incredibly passionate about the subject (English).

In 2018, I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. This happened in a very brief meeting with a psychiatrist after I was referred for some mental health support after I nearly lost my life to pneumonia and was struggling with the aftermath / trauma.

Personally, I don't particularly feel the diagnosis suits me, but either way I am being assessed for therapy and am on medication. For the past year I have been stable (medication was upped for anxiety due to the pandemic and being high risk but I am due to stop my anti-depressants soon, and any teaching course I start won't be for roughly another year anyway).

My mental health is managed and supported, and I do not feel it would hinder my ability to be a good teacher.

However, will declaring this diagnosis deem me unfit to teach? I am aware the illness has a lot of negative stigma surrounding it which is why I am so nervous. I feel I am finally in a place in my life where I'm excited for the future and I am upset at the thought of being unable to pursue the career I want to do because of my mental health (which, as I said, is being treated / managed with a care plan).

Has anyone got any advice or words of reassurance for me?

Thanks.
In general, mental health conditions aren't barriers to teaching because of the diagnosis. It's more to do with how you manage them. If you are on medication and stable, then that will work in your favour. If you are actively engaging with treatment that's also good.

It's very likely you will have an OH assessment, but this is also about the support that you can be given by the uni, not about turning you away from teaching.

It is really pretty rare that people are deemed unfit to teach on mental health grounds alone.

(Original post by nicalibres)
Hi, I'm in the exact same boat as you are -want to be an English teacher, have BPD- except I'm not that stable lol.

Afaik the diagnosis shouldn't affect your fitness to teach, but I'm worried that schools or unis might look at it and think 'hmm, maybe not'. I'm thinking of not declaring it tbh - I don't think it shows up on the enhanced DBS check, anyway.

I'm sorry I can't really give you advice as such, but I'll be watching this thread as I've been worrying about the exact same thing.
Does your fitness to teach form not have to be signed off by your GP? I can't really see how you can avoid declaring it?

Also, actively lying and being caught out later would likely have serious repercussions for your career.
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Juhubilant
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Hi Dazzienine

First on the "can I apply". You will need to complete a "fitness to teach" to questionnaire and if the university has concerns they may ask their occupational health team to meet with you to investigate further. I don't think it will automatically disqualify you from teaching and I have worked with a teacher who has BPD. However, I don't know when they were diagnosed and if they disclosed in their PGCE application. It might be worth seeing if you can chat to admissions at a couple of the colleges you are looking at to get more of a feel from them.

Second, I'm so sorry to hear that you were so poorly and nearly died. That must have been incredibly scary. It's quite common for people who have been ill and had a stay in intensive care to develop PTSD. According to research it's 10-20% of patients who spend time in ICU. If you feel the BPD diagnosis doesn't fit, push back to the professionals. I know it's difficult :-).

All the best & let us know how you get on.

JB
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nicalibres
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(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
Does your fitness to teach form not have to be signed off by your GP? I can't really see how you can avoid declaring it?

Also, actively lying and being caught out later would likely have serious repercussions for your career.
My bad, I haven't actually applied to teacher training yet, so I'm not sure haha.
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tinygirl96
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To answer your question no I doubt a DBS check reveals anything about your mental health. Go for it.
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by tinygirl96)
To answer your question no I doubt a DBS check reveals anything about your mental health. Go for it.
Prospective teachers also have to complete a fitness to teach assessment, which has to be signed off by a GP, usually. Anything that raises concerns will be subject to a further OH assessment.

There are conditions, e.g. those which cause uncontrolled blackouts, which are seen as incompatible with teaching.

In some cases, uncontrolled mental health issues (particularly when there have been recent suicide/self harm attempts) may be a barrier to teaching at the current time.

These restrictions are in place for the safety of pupils, as well as in some cases prospective teachers. ITT courses are really tough on people's mental health, so providers have a duty of care to be as sure as they can be that students will cope with the demands of the course.
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