The Stigma of Mental Illness in Education

Senior managers have too much power to mark a teacher’s card for life. One of the ways that this is done is in the stigma attached to a bout of mental illness in a person’s medical history, and to a lesser extent, any long term illness at all.

Most educational establishments will not employ someone with a history of depression, stress and other mental health disorders, citing that they are not capable of doing the job because of it. Is that fair? If they are not capable of doing this job because of that, why not? What jobs are they capable of? I think the answer to those questions would expose some serious institutional disability discrimination.

It’s not just mental health issues though, a lot of long term illnesses and disabilities that may require time off or reasonable adjustments are grounds for not employing someone, or invoking capability proceedings in those already employed. A lot of it very carefully and cleverly runs along the edge of what is legal under the DDA.

When I was teaching I was required to produce a detailed history as part of the recruitment process, to prove I had never in the past had the audacity to suffer from anything that might affect my work performance or attendance.

There have been some recent minor changes to the recruitment procedure in this area, brought on by the practice of discriminating in this way, as detailed in this TES Forum thread

Read The Full Series: Ten Ways In Which Suffering Teachers Are Bullied Further

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