“Today is World Mental Health Day, and teachers’ mental health is education’s wealth,” said ASTI President Deirdre Mac Donald.
“The mental health aspect of the workplace has not been given the attention and, most importantly, the support that it deserves. Through whichever prism you examine this issue - moral, economic, health – investment in terms of time and money pays high dividends. Worldwide research supports the business case for expenditure on employees’ mental health. A happy and supported work force is a fruitful, dynamic and constructive work force.
“It is time that this fact is embraced by the Department of Education and Skills. A Vision for Change, 2006 recognises the workplace as a key setting for the promotion of mental health. There has been a very welcome recognition of the importance of students’ mental health and the place that schools play in maintaining and promoting it. However, there has been no real engagement in promoting teachers’ mental health. Finland, a country we hear a lot about in education, has a well-developed and highly effective model of promoting workers’ health. This is long overdue in Ireland.
“Employees have the right to a safe and healthy working environment. Employers have a duty of care to their employees, including the mental health aspect – the psycho social environment - of the workplace. We are all aware of the importance of sustainability with respect to the physical environment, neglect of the psychosocial environment for teachers is at crisis point.
“The time for talking is over, the time to act is now.”