Wellbeing & mental health in the news: March/April 2017

Various articles have been published this month about mental health within the education sector. We have reviewed them and picked out the best ones for you here:

Female primary teachers have 42% higher-than-average risk of suicide
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) have reported that female nursery and primary teachers have a significantly higher risk of suicide than the average women. For the first time, the ONS has released a breakdown of suicide figures by occupation, highlighting workers at particular risk.

Scottish Teacher’s poll suggest nearly half of teachers struggling with mental health
Half of respondents to a poll on teacher wellbeing said their mental health was poor, suggesting growing numbers are struggling to cope.

School Leaders need to show staff they care
TES article highlights what could be done to improve staff retention. The article discusses how the sector needs to be more flexible for those who comes back from maternity leave as well as innovative initiatives such as staff ‘duvet days’ which has been introduced in a school in Lincolnshire.

Teenagers feel teachers have lack of skills to help with mental health problems
Research carried out by stem4, a teenage mental health charity, has found that only 1 in 20 secondary school students would turn to a teacher for help if they felt depressed, anxious, stressed or emotionally unable to cope. Further to this, 36% of young people says the government’s ‘mental health first aid training’ for teachers is “woefully inadequate”. 

An Academics Anonymous article wishes for a more open environment to talk about mental health in academia
This article talks about the stigma around mental health for academics as universities refuse to discuss why colleagues go off sick, exacerbating the stigma and stopping others from opening up. It also calls for more research into mental health of academic staff. 

Teachers are increasingly facing ‘vicious’ social media abuse from parents
A TES Scotland investigation has found teachers are increasingly facing ‘vicious’ and ‘abusive’ treatment at the hands of parents on social media. A poll of more than 1,000 Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association members showed one in seven teachers have suffered negative experiences on social media involving parents, while more than a third were not aware of any social media policy in their school.
 
Older teacher’s careers destroyed ‘for the sake of saving a few bucks' 
Delegates at the NASUWT conference have raised fears of older teachers being singled out for redundancy in favour of young, cheaper recruits.
 
Mary Bousted, General Secretary of ATL, has spoken about teachers increasingly going part-time to manage their full-time workloads.  She said “So what they do is they go point 8 (four days a week), so they spend Friday doing all their work so they can have a free weekend. Lots of people told me about that and that’s happening more and more”
 
Workload ‘pushing young teachers to the brink’
An NUT survey of 3,000 young teachers suggests 45% plan to leave in the next 5 years with half pointing to concerns for their mental health as the reason. 
 
Our CEO, Julian Stanely was interviewed at 13.05 minutes on Radio 5 Live on teacher wellbeing and mental health as part of a discussion in relation to the NASUWT’s member’s survey ‘Workplace culture taking intolerable toll on teacher’s lives’.