A total of 31 per cent of teachers have experienced a mental health problem in the past academic year, according to worrying new research being published tomorrow.
The study by the Education Support Partnership (ESP) charity, says more than a half of teachers are now suffering from insomnia – with numbers up a third since the previous year.
It also reveals a “sharp rise” in teachers suffering irritability or mood swings – at 51 per cent this year compared to 37 per cent last year, while tearfulness among teachers has risen from 31 per cent last year to 44 per cent this year.
ESP chief executive Julian Stanley said the need to protect the mental health and wellbeing of teachers was now “critical.”
“Over a third of education professionals said their job had made them feel stressed most or all of the time in the past few weeks, compared to 18 per cent of the UK workforce overall," he said. "A staggering 57 per cent have also considered leaving the sector within the past two years because of mounting health pressures.”
The research also reveals the ways teachers cope with stress, with half (47 per cent) turning to food, a third (32 per cent) to alcohol and 22 per cent to unnecessary spending. Another 5 per cent said they used drugs and 3 per cent said they turned to gambling.
The research surveyed a sample of 1,500 education professionals, including headteachers, NQTs and support staff, working across from early years to primary to secondary, FE and adult education.
Forgetfulness has risen from 27 per cent to 41 per cent in the past year, while difficulty concentrating has gone from 27 per cent to 40 per cent – in what the report describes as “a picture of an increasingly frustrated workforce, struggling to cope”.
The charity has also revealed latest figures which show an increase of 35 per cent in calls to its emotional support helpline, with some 8,600 calls being made in the past year.
And it says there’s been a 42 per cent rise in educational staff in financial crisis applying to its financial grants programme
Mr Stanley says in the foreword of the report: “Our counsellors hear daily from those struggling with the demands of ever-greater accountability, a growing testing culture and high levels of workload.”
If you are an education professional suffering with mental health problems you can call the confidential helpline on 0800 056 2561.