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Teachers are more depressed and anxious than the average Australian

If you’re not a teacher, this headline may come as a shock.

But it’s not sensationalised, it’s not click-bait… it’s reality.

This year, a substantial number of reports have highlighted that teachers are suffering, with statistics from a recent study by Bond University showing that over half of Australian teachers suffer from anxiety and nearly one-fifth are depressed1.

While many think of the teaching stereotype of short school hours and long school holidays, this is far from the truth.

Of the study respondents, around 18 percent had symptoms that met the criteria for moderate to severe depression. Nearly 62 percent met criteria for moderate to severe anxiety, and 19.75 percent had severe anxiety. Alarmingly, 56 percent met criteria for medium to high severity of somatic symptoms – when the symptoms are physical and can include pain, nausea, dizziness and fainting.

With The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority’s National Report of Schooling in Australia 2017 stating that there is a total of 281,948 full-time teaching staff in Australia2, from the figures above, we can extrapolate that approximately over 140,000 teachers could be experiencing pain, nausea, dizziness and fainting as a result of their job and their mental health and well-being is being put severely at risk.

So why are our teachers so stressed? Studies have indicated that a lack of educational resources, difficulties with staff and parents, work overload, time pressure and behavioural challenges with students are all contributing factors3. With almost half of all new teachers walking away from the profession within the first five years4, these statistics and contributing factors can’t be ignored.

Adding to this, last week reports were released in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s 2018 index of disciplinary climate, that showed Australia ranked 70th out of 77 participating nations for classroom discipline5. A high proportion of Australian students reported that the teacher isn’t listened to and it takes a long time for the class to quieten down.

Something needs to be done.

If you are a teacher who is struggling or if you know of a loved one who is, help them get the support they need these school holidays.

More and more teachers are turning to alcohol to cope, with The Bond University study reporting that teachers are three times more likely to reach for the bottle and 17 percent of respondents said they already had trouble with alcoholism.

If you think you may have a problem with alcohol, drugs or if your mental health is suffering, there’s no better time to seek treatment and get your life back on track.

Supported by most health funds, treatment at South Pacific Private is designed to meet the individual needs of each client and offers the best possibility of recovery, facilitated by a multi-disciplinary team of Psychiatrists, GPs, Registered Nurses, Clinical Psychologists, Therapists and Case Workers.

If you want to talk to a member of our team, call 1800 063 332 to find out more about treatment and have a confidential chat.

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References:

  1. Bond University: https://bond.edu.au/news/61677/bond-university-study-shows-teachers-are-more-depressed-and-anxious-average-australian
  2. Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority: https://www.acara.edu.au/reporting/national-report-on-schooling-in-australia/national-report-on-schooling-in-australia-2017
  3. British Journal of Educational Psychology: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1348/000709905X90344
  4. Hunter Institute of Mental Health’s Start Well project: https://everymind.org.au/research/start-well
  5. The Programme for International Student Assessment: https://www.oecd.org/pisa/PISA%202018%20Insights%20and%20Interpretations%20FINAL%20PDF.pdf