Teachers needing emotional support rises by quarter

The Education Support Partnership has revealed that the number of education staff calling a counselling helpline for emotional support has risen to a new record high.

As part of its Helpline Annual Report 2018/19, the Education Support Partnership claims to have health with 9,615 cases between April 2018 and March 2019 – a 28 per cent rise on the 7,507 calls dealt with in 2016-17. This represents the largest number of calls taken in a single year in the charity’s history.

The number of callers clinically assessed to be at risk of suicide also rose by 57 per cent in a year - from 357 in 2017-18 to 561 in 2018-19, the charity said. The report also found that helpline cases relating to workplace stress grew by 49 per cent compared to 2017-18, with a worrying trend emerging which showed that nearly three-fifths of the cases involved staff who have been working in education for fewer than five years.

A total of 46 per cent of callers last yearwere from the primary sector, with a third coming from staff in secondary schools.

Sinéad McBrearty, chief executive of the charity, said: “We can see a steep rise in teachers struggling to maintain good well-being and mental health in extremely challenging times in the profession. It is striking that teachers are not asking for help at the first, or even second, sign of difficulty. The vast majority of callers only get in touch when they are in crisis.”

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