Alcohol abuse is associated with social, economic, psychological and physical challenges on the individual, family and the community. TSC is cognisant of the fact that some teachers are/have fallen victims to alcoholism leading to, among other issues, absence from work.
The TSC treats alcoholism among teachers as a chronic health problem that needs intervention by counsellors, colleagues and close family members and it has put systems in place to help the victims.
At the school level, once the immediate supervisor identifies a teacher who has an alcohol or drug-related problem, s/he should refer them to the Sub County or County Director, who in turn should refer the patient to the Wellness section at the TSC headquarters.
The Wellness officer will ask the teacher to bring a next of kin to help in the assessment of the case, before referring the victim to a rehabilitation or psychiatric facility.
If a teacher is admitted to any of the centres, s/he should write a letter to apply for sick leave to enable him/her go through the 90-day programme. This letter, accompanied with an admission letter from the facility should be brought to TSC (Wellness) to allow TSC write to the respective County Directors asking them to grant the sick leave.
Often, a teacher is discharged after the 90 days, after which, s/he should report to TSC Wellness section with a discharge summary and a certificate from the facility for a recommendation to be posted to a school.
Whether you are a head of institution, a colleague or a spouse of a teacher with a drinking problem, you can play a critical role in offering psychosocial support by doing the following;
Head of Institution
- Offer advice to the teacher at a personal level.
- Have an external addiction counsellor talk with the teacher.
- Involve the teacher’s spouse or a trusted relative to persuade him/her to moderate the habit.
- Take the necessary administrative action to facilitate admission to a rehabilitation facility.
- Do not condemn or profile victims.
- Do not abet their behaviour by covering them up when absent, attending their lessons, or giving them money for drinks.
- Introduce them to recovering addicts groups such as the Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) fellowship.
- Show the alcoholic love and try to understand him/her.
- Try to find out if there are underlying issues beneath the addiction and assist them where you can.
- Don’t give up on an alcoholic but ensure that s/he gets a meal and a change of clothes daily. Denying them such privileges worsens the situation and they become unkempt and malnourished, making them vulnerable to other medical conditions.
- Communicate with the head of institution, Sub County Director or County Director for a joint rescue strategy.
- Persuade and assist them to go for rehabilitation.