Nine in 10 teachers say their job has negatively impacted their mental health

Almost all teachers say that their mental health has been negatively impacted during the pandemic, a survey by a union has found.

NASUWT said teacher has been in the “eye of the storm” and its data revealed that nine in 10 said their job had caused negative effects.

In a survey of nearly 12,000 teachers, carried out from mid-December 2021 to early January 2022, 90 percent reported they had experienced higher levels of work-related stress over the past year, while 91 percent said that their job had adversely affected their mental health.

More than half of those asked – 52 per cent – said that their workloads had been the main factor in higher stress levels, and 72 per cent said that organizing online learning for pupils had been a major contributor to worsening mental health during the pandemic.

NASUWT general secretary Dr Patrick Roach said that the toll the pandemic had taken on teachers’ mental health could not continue to be “written off as collateral damage”.

“While the pandemic has been tough for everyone, teachers have been right in the eye of the storm,” he said.

“Even before Covid-19 teachers were already caught in a spiral of increasing workload and stress and the events of the last two years have turbo-charged the pressure they are under.”

Dr Roach said that “this was not inevitable” and that excessive workload should not be accepted as an “intrinsic part of the job of teaching”.

He added that schools should cut out “unnecessary bureaucracy” and give teachers more autonomy over their work.

“Establishing working conditions which support the health and wellbeing of teachers will deliver a win-win in schools’ efforts to ensure the best outcomes for pupils,” he said.

“Instead, employers and governments are fixed on heaping ever more pressure on teachers on the damaging assumption that teachers’ dedication to their pupils is unbreakable. The damaging toll on teachers’ health and wellbeing cannot continue to be written off as collateral damage.”

The survey revealed that work-related stress was having a serious impact on teachers’ wellbeing and health, with 87 per cent reporting they were more anxious, 82 per cent saying they had had problems sleeping, 28 per cent reportedly increasing their use of alcohol and 10% saying they had a relationship breakdown.

Over four in five teachers said they did not believe Government policies help schools respond to the mental health needs of teachers.

The majority – 98 per cent – said they did not believe the inspection system takes teachers’ mental health and wellbeing into account when assessing schools.

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