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Is the wellbeing of our teachers at risk? Shock statistics suggest so

Is the wellbeing of our teachers at risk? Shock statistics suggest so

Is the wellbeing of our teachers at risk? Shock statistics suggest so

With the new school year about to start, leading workplace mental health experts are encouraging schools, parents and students to consider the impact of their actions on educators.

A corporate psychology organisation which supports and develops positive organisational behaviour, has released figures that suggest in the past five years it has seen a 36% increase in the number of educators seeking support from its counsellors.

The AccessEAP statistics point to workplace stress (18%) and anxiety (34%) being common reasons for seeking support.

“There are many more pressures on today’s teachers including the impact of new technology and social media, the rise of reported mental health issues amongst students, a lack of resources, increasingly demanding or aggressive parents and escalating levels of classroom violence. Consequently, the modern teaching environment can be detrimental to the mental and even physical wellbeing of educators,” says Marcela Slepica, Director of Clinical Services at AccessEAP.

Recent research published in The Australian Teachers Magazine shows that close to 50% of newly qualified teachers leave the profession within five years.

“Teachers play a vital role in the community and we collectively need to support them so that they can do their job,” adds Slepica. “This starts with parents modelling good behaviours and supporting teachers’ roles. Currently a third of Primary School teachers and a fifth of Secondary School teachers are exposed to abusive behaviour from parents at least once a month. This can range from harassment online to confrontations at the school gates. This behaviour is unacceptable and schools should have a “no tolerance” policy. However, many schools are hesitant and do not want to alienate or upset parents.”

According to the organisation, teachers also need help understanding mental wellbeing in the classroom. “Teachers often report to us that they don’t feel equipped to support students suffering with a mental health issue. It’s important that they are provided with advice on how to escalate any concerns to a trained school psychologist or the EAP.

“For many schools teacher mental wellbeing, relationships with parents or student aggression may not be an issue, but the start of the next wave of pupils is a perfect time for everyone on both sides of the education system to consider the needs of teachers and what they can do to create an environment where they can do their best work for our kids,” Slepica concludes.

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