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How Safe are Early Childhood Education Workplaces? Survey Results - Stress, fatigue and mental illness

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Stress, fatigue and mental illness

Stress manifested in a number of different ways with the most common areas being:

  • Work-life balance:  for example having to change shifts at the last minute putting pressure on caring for own children or a lack of holiday time especially for new or training teachers
  • Pressure of responsibility and workload: some teachers reported additional stress when they moved into supervisory positions, the pressure of dealing with paperwork and administration was also a source of stress, for example, the expectation of documenting children’s learning was impacting on time actually spent with children.
  • Staff relationships: respondents indicated that stress was caused through bad relationships with bosses or other colleagues. Some staff in supervisory roles also experienced stress when trying to resolve staff issues.
  • Physical injury: injuries were often described as leading to other problems including emotional stress.
  • Dealing with children’s individual needs and high needs children: some respondents said it was stressful and emotional dealing with children with special needs or who had suffered trauma, also there were issues responding to children’s needs for care and attention due to understaffing.
  • Job security at threat: including a threat of staff reductions due to falling rolls or restructuring

Staff responded to these stresses in various ways with many suffering emotional or physical manifestations of the stress including:

  • Panic attacks
  • Chronic anxiety
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure.
  • Exhaustion/fatigue
  • Severe migraines/stress induced headaches.
  • Sleep deprivation.
  • Weight gain

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