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Wednesday, 2nd January 2013
In General Japan News,

Teachers admit mental health problems causing inability to work

Mental illness is the reason stated by more than 5,000 teachers for taking sick leave in 2011, suggesting that stress in the classroom is a significant issue for those working in the profession.

That is according to a report commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Sports, Culture and Technology, which highlighted the plight of some 5,200 public school teachers who said they had suffered from the condition during 2011.

Of those questioned, some 62 per cent cited depression or other problems relating to their mental health as the reason behind their absence.

The issue is on the rise, as the report found that the number of teachers reporting problems with their mental health was more than double the amount who mentioned it a decade ago.

Teachers cited heavy work schedules and time pressures as reasons for stress which in some cases had led to serious mental health problems.

Action is needed to stop the problem, or at least curb it, the ministry has suggested.

It stated that teachers' workload would be reviewed as a result of the survey. The ministry also suggested that consultation systems should be put in place to help staff who needs to talk to others in the profession about any possible issues.

Anyone who has left or been absent from teaching due to stress should also be given the option of entering a rehabilitation programme, the ministry suggested.

In July 2011, the ministry reported that close to 50 per cent of public school teachers in Japan left the teaching profession altogether as a result of mental health problems.

The report revealed that some 1,893 teachers at public schools across Japan left because of health problems, and of those, some 940 admitted that mental illness was the reason for their leaving.

Written by Mark Smith

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