A helpline for teachers needing emotional support has seen a 37% rise in the numbers calling over the last year.

The helpline is run by the Education Support Partnership and between April last year and March they dealt with 8,668 calls.

The numbers who said they are a teacher grew by 37% over the same period to reach 3,136 cases.

The helpline is available free of charge to lecturers, staff and teachers working in education in England, Wales and Scotland. A union has previously highlighted that one in three teaching staff are suffering with depression and anxiety.

Those contacting the helpline are offered up to six counselling sessions by telephone with a counsellor.

Issues highlighted by those contacting the helpline

Of the issues being highlighted by those contacting the helpline are:

  • Workplace stress for 2,681 people
  • Issues with work performance for 1,029 people
  • Conflict at work calls grew by 16%
  • Harassment and bullying cases grew by 18%.

The organisation also points out that the number of calls it receives from deputy heads and head teachers also grew by 24%.

Those who are accessing support do so ‘at a late stage’

Education Support Partnership’s chief executive, Julian Stanley, said: “These are high numbers and show the scale of the problems. Most of those who are accessing support do so at a late stage when the reach crisis level. This should and can be avoided.”

He added: “School leaders, teachers, governors and support staff must end the stigma of seeking support at the earliest sign of poor mental health and also wellbeing.”

He said that isn’t easy for teachers to seek help unless their work environment is understanding but also supportive.

Mr Stanley said: “If you’re in education and worrying more than usual and not enjoying life outside of work or if you are having feelings and thoughts that are difficult to deal with, then these are issues that could lead to poor mental health if they aren’t dealt with.”

Findings from the helpline’s study reveal

Other findings from the helpline’s study revealed that:

  • The highest percentage of calls are from London-based education staff (up 30% from last year)
  • Most cases are from primary school staff; they account for 45% of calls
  • The number of calls for education staff aged under 30 grew by 67% over the year before
  • The highest proportion of calls were made in November 2017 with 12% of the total.

Teacher in a secondary school they helped

The Education Support Partnership points to a teacher in a secondary school they helped and the teacher explains that she was exhausted and this led to her breaking down in a class.

The teacher says: “I walked into the classroom and knew instantly I couldn’t be there and broke down. I could not explain it.

“The next day I didn’t want to go back and if I didn’t speak to someone I would never go back, so I contacted the helpline.”

She adds: “The support I got has kept me teaching and without the first call I would have left.”

 

More information

The free helpline run by the Education Support Partnership is 08000 562 561.