It is estimated that half a million, or 15 percent, U.S. teachers leave their positions each year, with 41 percent leaving the profession within their first 5 years. These turnover rates are unsurprising, however, due to what is known about the stressors experienced by educators. Studies consistently highlight the stress burdens associated with teaching, including burnout and secondary traumatic stress. Examples of stressors for educators can include the number of students in one class, increasingly challenging behaviors of students, a shortage of student support service providers, scarcity of up-to-date textbooks and other teaching resources, ongoing policy changes and poor implementation of new practices, lack of support from administrators, little involvement of student families, and high demands for the achievement of academic benchmarks, among many others.

Self-Care and Wellness: An Important Focus for Staff Implementing a School Responder Model is a research-to-practice brief that stresses the importance of self-care and wellness as priorities on both individual and organizational levels in schools, especially as educator stress levels rise and conditions are heightened to cause potential burnout.

The National Center for Youth Opportunity and Justice (NCYOJ) originally developed and maintained this resource. The NCYOJ was operated by Policy Research, Inc. and operated from 2001 to 2022 and was formerly known as the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice. The NCYOJ improved life opportunities for youth through systems and practice improvement initiatives.

This resource should be viewed as a reference document. It has not been updated since its publication. In addition, this document has not been made 508 compliant. If you would like a 508 compliant version of this document, please email

This resource was first shared in 2020.

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