STRESSED out teachers create stressed out students.
Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said teachers are facing increasing mental pressure from domestic problems, financial issues, job uncertainty and living away from their families, to name a few.
“How is it possible for teachers who have disrupted psychological and emotional well-being to carry out the teaching and learning process in a friendly and effective manner?” he said during the launch of the “Raising Teachers Psychological Wellbeing Awareness #3A (Aware, Alert, Action) Programme” on Wednesday.
His speech text was read by deputy education director-general (Teacher Development Professionalism) Datuk Sulaiman Wak.
Dr Maszlee said if teachers are facing mental problems, this will affect student outcomes.
“A student’s emotional and psychological development will be less healthy.”
He added that setting aside the psychological aspect in one’s daily work can have a negative impact on an organisation’s harmony.
Dr Maszlee said that there is normally a surge in teachers seeking counselling or mental health treatment from the ministry’s Psychology and Counselling Division during June and December.
This is due to teachers having their transfer requests rejected, he said, without revealing statistics.
He also said that there have been a few unwanted incidents lately due to the jeopardised psychological well-being of teachers and students.
He gave the example of the teacher who caned his student without following ministry guidelines that happened last month.
“Therefore, it is a necessity for the Education Ministry to assist teachers in handling and managing these issues effectively,” he added.
The year-long programme, which will begin in August, aims to encourage ministry staff to be aware, sensitive and act when they detect symptoms of psychological imbalance like mental disorders.
It began with a study on teachers’ psychological well-being that was carried out from January 2019 until May this year with around 100,000 respondents, he said.
Based on the results, teachers categorised with having low to medium psychological well-being will be given special intervention.
Those with medium high to high psychological well-being will undergo prevention programmes such as psychoeducation in their schools, he explained.
There will be 11 topics covered throughout the programme that will be delivered by the school heads to the teachers.
Among the topics are stress management, healthy lifestyle, anger management, depression and work satisfaction.
“We hope that what is learnt will be passed down from teacher to student as well,” he said.
Last month, Malaysian Mental Health Association president Datuk Dr Andrew Mohanraj said he has treated many teachers from national schools who are presented with features of psychological stress and some with full-fledged clinical depression.
“Meeting demands from students, parents and school heads can lead to the decompensation of physical and mental health of teachers,” he said.