ATL comment on ONS report on national suicide rates

Press release
17 March 2017 by ATL Media Office
Nansi Ellis, assistant general secretary for policy at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said: “The statistics give a hard edge to the stories we hear time and again from our members - that they are exhausted from the constant stress of never feeling they are on top of their workload and that they feel expected to devote every minute of their lives to their work.

“It is shocking to see that female primary teachers have a suicide risk that is 42% above the average. While this report doesn’t attempt to explain why the risk is so high, that this toxic mix could be leading to an increase in suicides is a scandal.

“We welcome the guidance accompanying this report, and the efforts already made by school leaders and teachers through our workload campaign to develop well-being committees, and to take part in mental health first-aid training, for example, which are extremely important. But as the guidance highlights, lack of control or influence over your work is a major reason for workplace stress. The Government and its agencies need to recognise their responsibility for the increase in workplace stress that arises when policies are introduced that force teachers to jump through hoops, with too little time to understand and implement changes, and too much pressure to get it right first time.”

ENDS

For advice about suicide prevention in the workplace, please visit the Business in the Community workplace.

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Stress