08 SES 02, Teachers and Mental Health Promotion in Schools
Teachers’ health has not only individual, but also economic and social relevance (Scheuch, Pardula, Prodehl, Winkler and Seibt, 2016), given the impact on the sick-leave absences and the health care behaviour models that teachers bring to their classrooms.
The three main types of occupational health problems suffered by teachers are: first, voice disorders due to long-term vocal overload caused by providing verbal instructions in presence of background noise, projecting the voice, and raising the voice to compensate for poor acoustic conditions; second, musculoskeletal disorders, especially of the back, neck and shoulders, mainly because of poor working postures and working long hours in a standing position; and, third, contact dermatitis is also common among school teachers.
The National Occupational Research Agenda of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) listed contact dermatitis, after hearing loss, as the second most common occupational disease in the United States. Nickel seems to be one of the common agents that cause occupational contact dermatitis due to its widespread use in chalk.
However, according to De Simone, Cicotto and Lampis (2016), the successive changes in the teaching profession, as a result of the profound transitions that affected the political, social and economic development, led to high levels of stress among teachers. In fact, in some countries, such as the United Kingdom, stress is the second most important cause of sick leave.
On the other hand, teaching was described as a deeply emotional activity, but little is known about the emotional demands that teachers face or how they affect their wellbeing (Kinman, Wray and Strange, 2011).
Therefore, in addition to the already mentioned disorders, there is another group of diseases that may affect teachers, which in many countries are not included in the catalogue of occupational diseases. Among them, there are psychosocial disorders: stress, burnout, depression, anxiety, etc.
WHO (2007) Global Plan of Action on Workers' Health 2008-2017 set out, among its objectives, to protect and promote health in the workplace and to improve the functioning of and access to the occupational health services.
On March 25th, 2010, the ILO Governing Body approved a new list of internationally recognised occupational diseases, from illnesses caused by chemical, physical and biological agents to respiratory and skin diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, occupational cancer, and, for the first time, mental and behavioural disorders.
The programs for primary prevention of teachers’ occupational health focus on campaigns, including through the Internet, with very good results (Lehr, Heber, Sieland et al., 2016). The treatment programs focus on occupational therapies such as physical therapy for voice care, ergonomics and mindfulness techniques (Mañas Mañas, Franco Justo and Justo Martínez, 2011; Roeser, Skinner, Beers and Jennings, 2012, Figl-Hertlein, Horsak, Dean, Schöny and Stamm, 2014).
It would be important to implement prevention programs that allow training which increase awareness of the emotional demands of teaching and consider different ways of improving emotional regulation skills in both experienced and newly qualified personnel of the education system.
Because of their high numbers and for setting an example for their students, teachers are one of the main professional groups for whom protective protocols should be developed for their occupational health problems (Ince, Özyildirim, Ince, et al., 2012).
De Simone, S., Cicotto, G., Lampis, J. (2016). Occupational stress, job satisfaction and physical health in teachers. Revue Europeene de Psychologie Appliquee, 66(2), 65–77. dos Santos, M.N. y Marques, A.C. (2013). Health conditions, lifestyles and occupational characteristics of teachers in a city in southern Brazil. Ciencia e Saude Coletiva, 18(3):837-46. Figl-Hertlein, A., Horsak, B., Dean, E., Schöny, W. y Stamm, T. (2014). A physiotherapy-directed occupational health programme for Austrian school teachers: A cluster randomised pilot study. Physiotherapy, 100(1), 20-26. Hunter E.J. and Titze I.R. (2010). Variations in Intensity, Fundamental Frequency, and Voicing for Teachers in Occupational Versus Nonoccupational Settings. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 53, 862-875. Ince, N., Özyildirim, B., Ince, H., et al. (2012). An investigation on occupational diseases among teachers in Silivri, Istanbul. Nobel Medicus, 8(1): 35-41 Kinman, G., Wray, S. y Strange, C. (2011). Emotional labour, burnout and job satisfaction in UK teachers: the role of workplace social support. Educational Psychology, 31 (7), 843-856. Lehr, D., Heber, E., Sieland, B., et al. (2016). Occupational eMental Health and teachers’ health: A meta-analytic review on the efficacy of internet-based intervention for promoting mental health in teachers. Pravention und Gesundheitsforderung, 11(3), 182-192. Mañas Mañas, I., Franco Justo, C. y Justo Martínez, E. (2011). Reducción de los Niveles de Estrés Docente y los Días de Baja Laboral por Enfermedad en Profesores de Educación Secundaria Obligatoria a través de un Programa de Entrenamiento en Mindfulness. Clínica y Salud, 22(2), 121-137. Montero, I. and León, O.G. (2002). Clasificación y Descripción de las Metodologías de Investigación en Psicología. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 2 (3): 503-508. Roeser, R.W., Skinner, E., Beers, J. y Jennings, P.A. (2012). Mindfulness Training and Teachers' Professional Development: An Emerging Area of Research and Practice. Child Development perspectives, 6 (2), 167–173. Scheuch, K., Pardula, T., Prodehl, G., Winkler, C. y Seibt, R. (2016). Occupational medical health care for teachers: Selected results for Saxony. Pravention und Gesundheitsforderung, 11(3), 147-153. Van Houtte, Evelyne; Claeys, Sofie; Wuyts, Floris & Van Lierde, Kristiane (2012). Voice disorders in teachers: Occupational risk factors and psycho-emotional factors, Logopedics Phoniatrics Vocology, 37(3), 107-116. WHO (2007). Salud de los trabajadores: plan de acción mundial. WHO. Zhang, Y., Zhu, T., Tang, L., Li, J., y Lan, Y. (2015). A study of relationship between occupational stress and diseases in secondary school teachers. Chinese journal of industrial hygiene and occupational diseases, 33(10):749-52.
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