Nearly half of teachers in Scotland (44%) have needed to see a doctor or medical professional in the last year as a result of the strain their job is placing on their mental and physical health, a survey by the NASUWT - The Teachers’ Union, has found.
One in ten teachers say they have been prescribed anti-depressants to help them cope, while 7% use or have increased their reliance on prescription drugs.
12% say they have undergone counselling and 3% of teachers have been admitted to hospital.
Nearly two thirds (64%) of teachers feel their job has adversely affected their mental health in the last 12 months. More than three quarters (78%) report they have experienced an increase in workplace stress over the past year.
The survey also found that in the last 12 months as a result of their job:
- 75% have experienced anxiety;
- 83% have suffered from loss of sleep;
- 21% have increased their use of alcohol;
- 9% have suffered a relationship breakdown;
- 2% have self-harmed.
The figures are released as the NASUWT begins its Scotland Conference today in Glasgow where many of the factors driving the growth in mental health problems among teachers will be discussed, including excessive workload, pupil indiscipline and adverse management practices.
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:
“It is clear that the mental and physical health of too many dedicated and talented teachers is being broken by the pressures of excessive workload, violence and indiscipline from pupils and management bullying.
“Many teachers are walking away from the profession to salvage their health and family relationships and this in turn is understandably deterring new recruits from choosing a career in teaching.
“The NASUWT is acting on teachers’ concerns and has launched a trade dispute with employers and the Deputy First Minister calling for a New Deal for teachers which tangibly addresses all of the issues which are driving the growth in stress and mental ill health among the profession.”
Jane Peckham, NASUWT National Official Scotland, said:
“Too many schools have become toxic environments to work in, where constant pressure, bullying and unsustainable workloads are making teachers mentally and physically ill.
“Action to address this must start at the top. The solutions to begin to alleviate this issue are there but they need statutory force and concerted attention from ministers and employers to making sure teachers feel empowered and supported at work, not broken and exhausted.”