Almost 400,000 staff days lost in Scottish schools due to mental ill health

The Scottish Liberal Democrats are calling for urgent changes to the pressures put upon teachers as staff absences continue to rise.

It has been revealed that almost 400,000 staff days have been lost due to mental ill health over the last three years.

Mental health problems covered included stress, depression and anxiety.

The figures were obtained by the Scottish Lib Dem party through a freedom of information request. Figures from 29 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities revealed that 395,330 teacher and support staff days have been lost for mental health reasons since 2015/16.

Increase

Absences have risen from 75,281 days in 2015/16 to 87,066 days in 2017/18. Glasgow had the largest number of staff days lost last year with 16,127 days in 2017/18. This was closely followed by Fife with 12,127 days and the Highlands had 11,781 days in the same period.

The figures highlight the continually rising levels of stress for teachers coupled with the pressure to complete work like marking and lesson plans outside of working hours.

In December 2018 the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) revealed that over half of teachers in Scotland believed the pressures of their job had caused a mental health problem or exacerbated an existing condition.

Credit @mentalhealth on Twitter

Training

Concerns have arisen over the effect of teacher absences on support staff and students’ wellbeing. Teachers included in the research believed that better health and wellbeing training for staff would in turn benefit students’ mental health.

More health and wellbeing training for teachers could mean better early intervention for students who are struggling with their mental health. This would also give teachers the tools to improve their own mental health, in turn reducing staff absences.

If you or someone you know if struggling with mental ill health contact Samaritans on 116 123.

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