Teacher stress 'causing relationships to break down'

NASUWT survey finds 84 per cent of teachers frequently worry about work outside school hours

Martin George

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Teachers blame the stress of their job for broken relationships, mental health problems and suicidal thoughts, a survey has suggested.

The online poll of nearly 5,000 teachers found 12 per cent had undergone counselling, while others had relied on prescription drugs or anti-depressants.

Of those who took part in the survey, 59 per cent said the job had damaged their mental health in the past 12 months, while 52 per cent said it had damaged their physical health.

More than half report less job satisfaction

In the poll, carried out by the NASUWT union:

  • 9 per cent said the strain of their job had contributed to the breakup of a relationship over the past year
  • 84 per cent said they frequently worry about work problems outside of work, with just 11 per cent saying they are able to relax at home
  • 56 per cent said their job satisfaction had declined over the past 12 months
  • 22 per cent reported an increased use of alcohol; 22 per cent said they were using more caffeine, and 5 per cent were using more tobacco to help them manage work-related stress
  • 12 per cent said they had undergone counselling; 7 per cent had used prescription drugs; 11 per cent had used anti-depressants; 4 per cent had been admitted to hospital with work-related illness, and 2 per cent said they had self-harmed as a result of work related pressures.


One teacher said their husband had left them “because I'm always working”, while another said: “I often think about self-harming or crashing the car so I don't have to go to work.”

Ms Keates said: “If the majority of teachers are unable to relax away from work and feel constantly worn down and worried about work issues then their mental and physical health is inevitably going to suffer and they will not be able to give their best to the children they teach.”

She said all schools should provide mental health first-aid for teachers, and called for the government to tackle excessive workload and working hours.

'We trust headteachers to take action'

A Department for Education spokesperson said more people were entering the profession than leaving, and added: “We continue to work with teachers, unions and Ofsted to tackle unnecessary workload and challenge unhelpful practices that create extra work, including through an offer of targeted support to schools.

“Alongside this, we are exploring ways to improve career progression for teachers to encourage them to stay in the profession.

“Where staff are struggling, we trust headteachers to take action to tackle the causes of stress and ensure they have the support they need.”

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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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