Teachers turn to ‘drink and antidepressants to cope with stress’

i News reports that teachers are turning to drink and antidepressants in a bid to deal with the stress and workload of the job, a poll has shown.

A consultation of nearly 5,000 teachers revealed that more than a fifth – 22 per cent – had turned to alcohol to help them cope with their work, while over one in 10 – 11 per cent – said they relied on antidepressants.

The questionnaire, conducted by the NASUWT, comes as the union’s members voted to explore the possibility of holding national days of strike action, as well as continuous rolling, regional strikes in opposition to excessive workloads.

Responding to the survey, one teacher stated that they had been “pushed to the point of suicidal tendencies” due to the stress of their job.

“I lose sleep worrying. I feel guilty if I am off sick or not working evenings and weekends,” one teacher added.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT  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.” 

12 per cent – said they had been forced to turn to counselling to help them with the stress and 9 per cent said their job had led to the breakdown of a relationship in the last year.

“Employers have responsibility for the mental health and wellbeing of their staff but few address this seriously.” Ms Keates added. 

A Department for Education spokesman said: “Teaching remains an attractive profession with more people joining the profession than leaving or retiring. “Nevertheless we want teachers to have the freedom to do what they do best, inspire children to learn.”

Read more Teachers turn to ‘drink and antidepressants to cope with stress’

Should all schools offer counselling for teachers? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter ~ Tamsin

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