Record number of teachers experiencing emotional “crisis”

A charity that provides an emotional support helpline to teachers and other staff in the education sector has warned that it has been experiencing a record number of calls from people who have reached an emotional crisispoint.

17 May 2019| News

Education Support Partnership reported a 28% increase in call volume in the last 12 months compared with the year before, dealing with 9,615 cases – the largest number in the organisation’s history.

Calls related specifically to workplace stress rocketed by 49%, with the number of those at risk of suicide increasing to 561 compared with 357 the previous year.

The charity has previously found that education staff are more vulnerable to behavioural, psychological or physical symptoms due to their work than the average Brit, with 76% experiencing problems compared with 60% of all workers.

Sinéad Mc Brearty, CEO of Education Support Partnership, commented: “Our annual helpline report raises deep concerns. We can see a steep rise in teachers struggling to maintain good wellbeing and mental health in extremely challenging times in the profession.

“It is striking that teachers are not asking for help at the first, or even second, sign of difficulty. The vast majority of callers only get in touch when they are in crisis. Rising numbers of callers are new to teaching or at an early stage in their careers.”

She added: “We want to see a proactive approach to nurturing teacher’s resilience through their initial training, early career and managed throughout professional life. Encouraging teachers and other staff to also take a proactive approach to their own wellbeing at work and spot the signs of others who might be struggling is essential.

“Teaching is a relational role, even for the most data-oriented teacher. Teachers make children and young people feel recognised, safe and able to learn: this is why teaching is such an important job. Stress directly undermines a person’s ability to perform well. Nobody wants desensitised, emotionally exhausted adults in the classroom. It is time to take serious, strategic action on the health of schools as workplaces.”