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At the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, new research for the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union finds widespread evidence of clinical depression amongst teachers and headteachers.

Nearly 12,000 teachers took part in the NASUWT’s Wellbeing Survey which has been calibrated using the widely respected Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale.

The analysis found an average Wellbeing Score amongst teachers of 38.7, where a score below 41 indicates the risk of probable clinical depression.

91% of teachers who responded to the NASUWT survey reported that their job had adversely affected their mental health in the last year.

More than half of teachers (52%) said workload was the most important factor damaging their mental health, and 34% cited the consequences of the pandemic.

The findings indicate that the situation is more marked amongst classroom teachers, disabled teachers and amongst teachers working in areas with higher rates of socio-economic deprivation.

The Union’s research heard from teachers who had suffered panic attacks as a result of bullying, teachers diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and 3% of teachers who reported that they had self-harmed.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“These findings provide disturbing evidence of a mental health crisis in schools and of psychiatric injury and harm being caused to teachers and headteachers.

“Teachers and headteachers are at breaking point.

“Urgent action is needed to tackle the root causes of the mental health crisis in our schools and colleges.

“Ministers need to wake up to the facts and commit to making improving the morale and health of the profession its number one priority.

“Delivering world-class education for every child requires that our schools and colleges are world-class workplaces, too.

“Teachers, headteachers and pupils deserve better.

“We are reminding employers and the Health and Safety Executive that they have a statutory duty to act in response to this crisis, and to take positive action to protect and safeguard the mental health and welfare of teachers and headteachers.”

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