Opinion Former Article

More support needed for work-related mental health issues

All teachers should have an entitlement to mental health training, professional counselling or cognitive behaviour therapy when suffering work-related mental ill health, the Annual Conference of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, has heard today.

Representatives at the Conference in Birmingham debated a motion calling for more support for teachers facing mental ill health issues.

Findings from the NASUWT’s annual Big Question survey show that over 86% of teachers have experienced increased workplace stress in the last year and 87% believe their jobs have negatively impacted on their health and wellbeing in the last 12 months.

Nearly two thirds of teachers (62%) believe their jobs have also adversely affected their mental health over the past year.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“Teachers’ health and wellbeing is all too often a low priority for employers and Government.

“The stresses teachers are facing are having a serious adverse impact on their health and yet all too often the response is not support, but a punitive sickness management procedure which causes even more stress.

“The Government’s negative attitude to working people has created a climate in schools where anything goes and if there is an adverse impact on the health and wellbeing of teachers it is simply regarded as collateral damage.

“High quality education for children and young people cannot continue to be sustained by teachers whose physical and mental health is being broken.

“A coherent, tangible and sympathetic support strategy is required which includes access to mental health training and professional counselling.”


NASUWT Press Office contacts:
Ben Padley 07785 463 119
Lena Davies 07867 392 746
Sarah Cull 07920 711 069

Notes to editors
The NASUWT’s Annual Conference is being held at the ICC in Birmingham from 25-28 March.

The NASUWT Big Question survey is an annual survey of teachers on a range of issues affecting their wellbeing and professionalism. The figures are a snapshot of the Big Question results, based on 5,098 online responses. Data from the paper responses to the survey are still being collated and the full results of the survey will be published at a later date.

The full text of the motion is below:

WORK-RELATED MENTAL ILL-HEALTH
Executive to move,
Executive to second:
Conference notes with alarm the results from the NASUWT Big Question survey 2015 that identified over 80% of teachers had experienced increased workplace stress and believed that their jobs had negatively impacted on their wellbeing in the preceding 12 months.
Conference also notes that 60% of teachers believed that their jobs had adversely affected their mental health in the same period.
Conference welcomes the work of the NASUWT in actively campaigning around raising awareness of the mental health and wellbeing of teachers.
Conference supports the continuing work of the National Executive in providing support, advice and guidance to teachers who experience mental-health stress by:

educating members, Workplace Representatives and caseworkers through the Union’s training programme to recognise stress and how to support colleagues;

raising the profile of teachers’ mental health and wellbeing nationally and internationally and

promoting a programme to accredit senior lay officers of the Union as ‘mental health first aiders’ in preparation for training NASUWT members.

Conference further supports the National Executive in campaigning for all teachers to have an entitlement to mental-health training, professional counselling and/or cognitive behaviour therapy when suffering work-related mental ill-health.

(Executive)

Lena Davies
Press & Media Officer
NASUWT
0121 457 6250/07867 392746
lena.davies@mail.nasuwt.org.uk

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