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According to a survey, teachers are turning to alcohol and antidepressants to deal with work-related stress.

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The tremendous toll that work-related stress is taking on educators’ mental health has been revealed by a recent poll carried out by the NASUWT teaching union. A startling 84% of teachers reported feeling more stressed out at work in the last year, and 86% said it had a negative impact on their mental health.

The results, which were presented at the NASUWT annual conference in Harrogate, Yorkshire, portray a dismal picture of the mental health crisis facing educators. According to a poll conducted among 11,754 teachers in the UK, 23% of them reported increasing their alcohol intake as a result of work-related stress, while 12% said they started using antidepressants.

Sadly, 3% of respondents said they had self-harmed in the previous 12 months as a result of stress at work. This disturbing discovery coincides with calls for immediate action to stop catastrophes and growing concerns about the mental health of educators.

The poll is being conducted at the same time that education inspection agencies, particularly Ofsted, are under increased scrutiny because of headteacher Ruth Perry’s terrible suicide. Following an Ofsted report downgrading, Perry’s death has heightened calls for better support networks and a stronger focus on teacher welfare.

Motions requesting comprehensive mental health care in all educational institutions and suicide prevention training for school administrators will be discussed by delegates at the NASUWT congress. The union calls on authorities to address the underlying causes of stress and burnout as it warns of a growing mental health epidemic inside the industry.

NASUWT General Secretary Patrick Roach stressed the critical need for action in response to the survey results, saying, “Nobody should be brought to the brink of ending their own life because of their job.” In order to address work-related stress and provide welfare assistance for educators and school administrators, Roach recommended for a holistic strategy.

The Department of Education states that staff wellbeing is a top priority, although acknowledging the difficulties experienced by educators. To address the urgent problem of teacher mental health, initiatives like the Education Staff Wellbeing Charter and greater funding for professional support have been implemented.

Urgent action is required to protect teachers’ health and stop more tragedies in America’s schools and universities as the education industry struggles with this growing epidemic.

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