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Stressed teacher wanted to crash car to avoid going back to work

As one teacher talks about burnout, a charity warns that this is the worst time of year for teacher mental health

Returning to work in January is the worst time for teacher mental health, says charity

As one teacher talks about burnout, a charity warns that this is the worst time of year for teacher mental health

A stressed teacher has told of how she considered driving her car into a tree so she could “become so injured she could get off the treadmill of work”.

The woman, a teacher of 20 years, from Hampshire, who does not wish to be identified, said she hadn’t slept properly for several years because her mind was constantly thinking about things she had to do the next day.

In an interview with the BBC, she said: “The to-do list, the staffroom cliques, the parents who complain, the head who wants more, the marking I’m behind on.

“My confidence nose-dived to the point of being unable to be out in public. I had panic attacks and trouble breathing. My turning point was a mental breakdown and six months off.

“I’ve been on anti-depressants since it happened and I’m in no hurry to come off them. At the very worst, I wanted to crash my car and become so injured that I could get off the work treadmill.

Teacher: 'I could feel myself drowning'

“I could literally feel myself drowning but I couldn’t express it. I couldn’t tell anyone. I felt ashamed.”

The Education Support Partnership, a charity which helps teachers and education staff with mental health issues, said the woman’s problems were common among callers to its helpline.

Charity spokesman Richard Faulkner said: “We always see a spike in the number of calls at the start of a new term, but particularly after Christmas with anxiety caused by going back into the classroom environment.

"Common issues are student behaviour, relationships with managers and managing new work demands, as well as personal issues, such as family problems which have arisen over Christmas.”

Last year the Education Support Partnership revealed the number of teachers contacting its helpline because they were feeling suicidal had risen by 14 per cent and that the region with the highest number was the South West.

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