Eastern Region Young Teachers’ Weekend Tackling Stress www.teachermentalhealth.org.uk
This talk is about: • The impact of work stress on the health and well-being of teachers. • Causes of stress in the workplace. • Potential symptoms of stress. • What to do as an individual if you are experiencing stress symptoms. • What employers should be doing to reduce stress. The employers duty of care. The HSE Management Standards for Stress Reduction. • What is workplace bullying and how can you tackle it. • Things the school community can do to build a 'healthy school' for all employees. • The benefits of being a health school v. the costs of being an unhealthy one. • If you feel uncomfortable……
Who am I? Who am I ? Link To Video http://www.teachermentalhealth.org.uk/Teachers%20TV%20Goodclip.wmv
The impact of work stress on the mental health and well-being of teachers • Stress has been described by the HSE as “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed upon them”. Although stress itself is not a disease, it is recognised that excessive or prolonged stress can be a cause of mental and physical illness. • HSE research has found that one in five people – an estimated 5 million workers – is ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ stressed at work, and that stress, anxiety and depression nationally lead to more than 12 million lost working days each year. The International Labour Organisation has estimated that the cost of stress to the British economy amounts to over ten per cent of its Gross National Product (GNP). • Over the past ten years, studies have consistently found that teachers are amongst the most stressed workers in Britain.
Continued: • Teaching was rated the most stressful occupation by HSE in 2000 (42% of teachers highly stressed at work compared with 20% in population as a whole). • Between 2003 and 2006 National Statistics reported that the highest levels of occupational stress, depression or anxiety were amongst teachers and were double the level for ‘all occupations’. • Around half of all ill-health retirements take place for stress/psychiatric illness. • You Gov research in 2007 found that stress had led to half of all teachers considering leaving the profession. A survey of London teachers in 2006 found that four-fifths envisaged stress causing them to leave in the future. • Half of all new teachers entering the profession leave within 5 years. • Suicide rates amongst teachers are 40% higher than within the population as a whole. (Source – Samaritans)
Causes of stress in the workplace. ‘Crazy About Work’ identified main causes as: • Excessive or unmanageable workload. • Excessive monitoring. (OFSTED, Performance Management, Data Collection, Observation, Local Authority Monitoring, etc.) • Disruptive pupils. • Harassment or bullying. • Fear of violence. • Lack of control over their work.
Cont. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Management Standards: • The Demands of your job. • Your Control over your work. • The Support you receive from managers and colleagues. • Your Relationships at work. • Your Role in the organisation. • Change and how it is managed.
Other Examples: • Inability to make decisions; • Poor concentration; • Unhealthy eating or drinking; • Inability to set priorities and manage tasks; • Breakdown in good relationships in or out of work; Sources of information • Self-help questionnaires (NUT, Teacher Support Network Stress Test - https://tsn.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/tsn.cfg/php/enduser/doc_serve.php?&5=87 • Close family and friends; • Trusted colleagues.
Stress does not only have psychological implications Link To Video: http://www.teachermentalhealth.org.uk/Blood%20Pressure.wmv
What to do as an individual if you are experiencing stress symptoms Don’t: • Work longer and longer hours trying to chase demands. • Keep your stress feelings to yourself. • Blame yourself for being under stress because ‘everyone else copes’ – They don’t. • Put your work before every thing else.
Continued. Do: • Discuss your stress with someone you trust. Close family, friend or trusted colleague. • Seek help from organisations like your trade union or the Teacher Support Network. (They will always give confidential advice and support.) • Take medical advice from your GP. (Most GPs are very well aware of teacher stress) • Set a limit for your overall working hours and if you are unable to meet demands within them report this to your manager/headteacher. (It is reasonable to keep at least one full day at the weekend and a couple of evenings ‘work free.’) • Report your stress to your line manager/head teacher. • If you feel unable to report excessive demands or stress consult your trade union. • Try to eat sensibly and take regular exercise.
What employers should be doing to reduce stress. (The employers duty of care.) (Who are the employers?) • Finding out about stress levels of all staff. • Stress Risk Assessment. (i.e. Identifying stress hazards and putting in place a plan to minimise or remove the hazards.) • Taking pro-active steps to reduce stress and improve wellbeing. • Responding appropriately to reported stress. • Recognising that the stress experienced by senior managers can lead to increased stress for other staff. • Creating a open climate where reporting and discussion of stress is welcome. • Ensuring senior managers are properly trained to tackle stress. • Leading by example.
What is Bullying? • When does strong management become bullying? • Are you being bullied? • What kinds of behaviour constitute bullying at work?
In a Healthy School: • The climate: • Allows everyone to discuss how they are feeling about work; • Demands that everyone should be treated with respect • Welcomes and respects the expression of professional views. • Everyone is involved in decision making. • No one is bullied. • Time is set aside in the school day for rest and relaxation. (The staff room is relaxing place to be. An empty staffroom is a sign of an unhealthy school) • Managers know how many hours their staff are working and plan to improve work-life balance. • Managers are aware of potential stress hazards and take action to minimise them. • Change is managed over a reasonable timescale and does not add to overall work demands. (i.e. new tasks are only introduced after discontinuing old ones)
But, in a Healthy School The evidence shows that: • Staff turnover is lower (staff are retained); • Recruitment is easier; • Staff absence levels are lower; • School results are better. (Source: Teacher Wellbeing)