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Friday, 27 October, 2000, 00:52 GMT 01:52 UK
Stressed teachers reach for helpline
Teachers can contact the helpline 24 hours a day
A helpline for stressed-out teachers has received a thousand calls a month in its first year.

And among these more than 800 calls a year have been identified as potential suicide risks or from teachers with severe depression.

Teacherline's first year
12,000 calls
27% stress related
14% conflict with managers
9% workload problems
9% suffering loss of confidence
7% "severe" problems

Teacherline, which offers a free counselling and advice line for teachers, has published its first annual report - and says that is has been taken aback by the size and severity of problems.

Stress, anxiety and depression accounted for 27% of calls, with the next largest categories being conflict with managers, pressure of workload and a loss of confidence.

Calls were interpreted for severity and 7% were identified as being in the most serious category, which meant a risk of suicide, major depression or substance dependency.

Claimed as the largest workplace advice helpline in the country, Teacherline has received 12,000 calls since its launch in September 1999.

Early intervention

"Problems raised and addressed at an early stage invariably have much simpler solutions," said the helpline's chief executive, Patrick Nash.

"We encourage any teachers who are experiencing problems to avoid hesitation and call before their health deteriorates and job and personal lives become adversely affected."

According to the Teachers' Benevolent Fund (TBF), which set up Teacherline, supporting teachers in this way can save thousands of pounds that might otherwise be lost in sick leave and providing cover.

Research conducted by the TBF has previously claimed that teachers are four times more likely to suffer from stress than other professions and surveys have found that work-related pressures have prompted many teachers to consider changing careers.

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