5,000 Japanese teachers suffer from mental illness

More than 5,000 teachers in Japan had to take sick leave during the last fiscal year because of depression and other mental disorders, a government survey said.

The study was conducted by Japan’s Education Ministry on teachers at public elementary, junior and senior high schools, and special schools. While 8,544 teachers had taken sick leave, 62 percent (5,274 teachers) had to take some time off from work due to depression or other mental illness, the Japanese press comments.

It was the fourth consecutive year when the number topped 5,000. The survey’s conclusions also showed the number of mentally ill teachers had doubled compared to the one registered ten years ago.

Teachers aged 40 or more tend to be very stressed because of the high amount of work and the tight schedule, the Ministry says, while younger teachers in their 20s and 30s say they have other reason to worry, for example how to communicate with parents.

The Ministry plans to take measures, including reviewing teachers’ workload, improving consultation systems, and creating rehabilitation programs for teachers on leave.

Tokyo Times