Just under 90 teachers have taken time off in the last year due to stress and other mental wellbeing issues.

Forty-three were from primary schools and 45 from secondary or University College Isle of Man.

The figure has risen across the last three years with 69 teachers taking time off due to stress in 2021-22 and 49 in 2020-21.

All data is taken from March 1 to February 28 each year and UCM’s data was grouped with that of secondary schools so as to avoid staff being identified.

Arbory, Castletown and Malew MHK Jason Moorhouse asked in the House of Keys what the return to work process is like for these individuals.

He wanted to know if staff have to see the occupational health resources team, a confidential and impartial medical advisory service, which ultimately ‘results in other reasons being given for absences because it allows for an easier return’.

Education Minister Julie Edge said: ‘The return to work process starts with a meeting with the employee and their manager.

‘This is to ensure the employee is fit to return to work, to discuss any additional support that could be provided, address any concerns surrounding the sickness absence, and communicate the standards of attendance expected as appropriate.

‘Further support is offered with advice from OHR and usually a referral to OHR is for a long-term sickness.’

Mr Moorhouse said: ‘There are real issues out there and we’ve got a data set that’s quite concerning.’

Asked if all schools and UCM have provided the option of stress and mental wellbeing management as part of their inset programmes, Ms Edge explained that in-house wellbeing programmes run internally within schools for teachers.

‘The content for these are determined by the school,’ the minister said. ‘Staff welfare provides confidential, individual and emotional support for all government staff.

‘Annual head teacher wellbeing appointments are carried out with staff welfare officers and due to the nature of the role having a wide range of demands to deal with the potential associated impact on wellbeing, the wellbeing appointment promotes regular annual mental health checks and provides support.

‘The new raising attainment and wellbeing programme will help teachers explore what they can do to create an inclusive learning environment that supports and nurtures the highest possible levels of emotional wellbeing of staff and students.

‘There is a wellbeing resource and information pack available to all our head teachers.

‘This includes information and tools regarding physical activity, looking after your mental wellbeing, stress, anxiety, depression, resilience, mindfulness and many other useful tools.’

She also explained that stress-related absences are reported under the headings of mental health, anxiety and depression, other mental health matters, and stress which is personal or stress which is work-related.

Ms Edge said: ‘The department doesn’t have a designated official to support staff, however our schools do have the management teams who are there to support the staff with any issues they have around their mental wellbeing.’