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(UK) Scotland: "Teachers deal with "young people [with] increasing levels of mental 'disease'"

Jan 22, 2018, (UK) Tes: (Scotland) 'Investment in helping teachers to look after their own mental health will only benefit our pupils' https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-views/investment-helping-teachers-look-after-their-own-mental-health-will If teachers are to be fully effective in promoting the wellbeing of their students, they need to prioritise their own mental health first, writes one headteacher … In recent years I’ve heard, with increasing concern, many brilliant, positive and dedicated colleagues say something like "I’ve never known a term like that one" or "I’m not sure that I can cope with much more of this". To my great shame, I’d often put that down merely to tiredness or evidence of diminishing societal levels of personal resilience. When I started to analyse it (most helpfully by comparing the lot of a teacher today with the life when I entered the profession 30 years ago), I began to realise just why they might feel that way. When I started in 1988, the expectations of teachers were much simpler. I wasn’t expected to be expert in depth about the range of special educational needs and how to address them; to understand complex neuroscience and learning styles; to know and be able to recognise and react to the signs of abuse or radicalisation of my pupils; to be brilliant at using IT in my lessons; to be an expert in using data to inform progress; to write risk assessments and know health and safety legislation inside out. … Mental health support However, the thing that appears to have tipped the balance for many teachers is the emotional strain and time consumed as they find themselves on the front line in helping young people to manage increasing levels of mental "disease" and illness. All this within a national health support system insufficiently resourced to do more than scratch the surface of the issue. A survey run by the HMC Wellbeing Working Group in 2015 showed, for example, an 85 per cent growth in schools citing pupil depression as a serious concern over the previous five years. … And this whole conglomeration of factors can affect teachers badly: a survey of Scottish state school teachers in 2016 showed that almost half rated their mental health either "poor" or "very poor". Indeed, Tes reported on the alarming number of teachers on long-term stress leave as recently as January 11. … … And it’s not just about training teachers in Mental Health First Aid (called for by the Scottish Association for Mental Health, for example, last week); it’s about schools actively helping teachers to look after their own mental health as an investment in the care of their pupils. …