Teachers are turning to drink and antidepressants in a bid to deal with the stress and workload of the job, a poll has shown. A consultation of nearly 5,000 teachers revealed that more than a fifth – 22 per cent – had turned to alcohol to help them cope with their work, while over one in 10 – 11 per cent – said they relied on antidepressants. The questionnaire, conducted by the NASUWT, comes as the union’s members voted to explore the possibility of holding national days of strike action, as well as continuous rolling, regional strikes in opposition to excessive workloads. ‘Suicidal tendencies’ Responding to the survey, one teacher stated that they had been “pushed to the point of suicidal tendencies” due to the stress of their job. “I lose sleep worrying. I feel guilty if I am off sick or not working evenings and weekends,” one teacher added, while another stated their job led to their 16 year marriage to breakdown. Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said the job of teaching was taking an “unacceptable toll” on the health and wellbeing of teachers. “If the majority of teachers are unable to relax away from work and feel constantly worn down and worried about work issues then their mental and physical health is inevitably going to suffer and they will not be able to give their best to the children they teach,” Ms Keates said. Relationship breakdown Nearly six in 10 – 59 per cent – said their job had taken a toll on their mental health in the last 12 months and just over half – 52 per cent – said it has had a “detrimental impact” on their physical health. More than one in 1o – 12 per cent – said they had been forced to turn to counselling to help them with the stress and 9 per cent said their job had led to the breakdown of a relationship in the last year.
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