Help for teachers with ‘mental’ woes

THE Education Ministry has been providing social support services through counsellors to help teachers facing serious emotional or mental “disturbances”.

The counselling was also for those dealing with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) issues.

Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi said the services were made available from 2007, at all state education departments and district education offices to facilitate cases involving mentally disturbed teachers.

“These teachers are placed in a ‘pool’. So far there are 235 teachers in the pool and they constitute 0.05% of the total teaching workforce,” he said when answering a question at the Dewan Negara.

He also said that the ministry monitored teachers who had to deal with the LGBT issue or who suffered from mental problems.

Dr Mohd Puad said the ministry also proposed that teachers could obtain treatment from psychiatrists by enlisting the help of the ministry’s counsellors or through the Health Ministry.

“Surveillance by the school administration and periodic reports to the district education office, state education department and the ministry’s counselling and psychology division, is also carried out to monitor the progress of the teachers,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dr Mohd Puad said there were now 530 teachers who had mental problems compared to 774 people in 2009 and 747 in 2010.

He said that 23.5% of teachers faced mental problems due to work stress, as compared to 76.4% caused by hereditary factors and 52.9% through personality “disturbances”.

The ministry had set up a special committee that will look into reducing the workload of teachers, Dr Mohd Puad added. - Bernama

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