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I presently have 2 staff off sick with stress / depression. Whilst driving home today I thought about how often staff I have worked with over the years have had this to deal with. There was even an article recently in nursery world about how managers can recognise this in staff and support them.

So, I wondered if this is a problem associated with working in the early years field and how much it does affect staff.

Would any of you mind if I did a little research of numbers as there are so many people on this site? either post a reply or pm me. Thanks, as I do think this may be a hidden problem that needs considering.

 

Question: IN THE LAST YEAR

 

1/ Have you suffered from stress that is work related and resulted in absence from work? YES / NO

 

2/ Have you suffered from depression that is work related and resulted in absence from work? YES / NO

 

 

3/ Have you suffered from stress through personal (home life) and taken time off work? YES / NO

 

 

4/ Have you suffered from depression through personal (home life) and taken time off work? YES / NO

 

Question: IF YES TO ANY OF THE ABOVE

 

5/ How many days off in the last year?

 

6/ Did you have medication? YES /NO

 

7/ What factors do you think contributed to your stress / depression?

 

8/ What ways did your workplace support you?

 

9/ What ways would you have liked to be supported by your work colleagues ( but wasn't)?

 

I will collate any replies and inform you all,weekend after Friday 18th March.

 

Thanks

Peggy

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Very interesting Peggy!

 

All my answers are No, but would you like me to do a bit of research at work, to add to your results?? As I am a sort of Mentor, I'm in a position to get some honest answers, and I promise I'll tell them what it's for, as well as passing on your findings.

 

Sue :D

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Peggy says:

 

I presently have 2 staff off sick with stress / depression. Whilst driving home today I thought about how often staff I have worked with over the years have had this to deal with. There was even an article recently in nursery world about how managers can recognise this in staff and support them.

So, I wondered if this is a problem associated with working in the early years field and how much it does affect staff.

Would any of you mind if I did a little research of numbers as there are so many people on this site? either post a reply or pm me. Thanks, as I do think this may be a hidden problem that needs considering.

 

Question: IN THE LAST YEAR

 

1/ Have you suffered from stress that is work related and resulted in absence from work? YES / NO

 

2/ Have you suffered from depression that is work related and resulted in absence from work? YES / NO

 

 

3/ Have you suffered from stress through personal (home life) and taken time off work? YES / NO

 

 

4/ Have you suffered from depression through personal (home life) and taken time off work? YES / NO

 

Question: IF YES TO ANY OF THE ABOVE

 

5/ How many days off in the last year?

 

6/ Did you have medication? YES /NO

 

7/ What factors do you think contributed to your stress / depression?

 

8/ What ways did your workplace support you?

 

9/ What ways would you have liked to be supported by your work colleagues ( but wasn't)?

 

I will collate any replies and inform you all,weekend after Friday 18th March.

 

Thanks

Peggy

 

 

Peggy, I have answered "NO" to 1-4, despite feeling under "stress". I have not taken time off work for much in the last six years - except for 2 separate days when I had ill children, a week when my little one had recontructive plastic surgery, three weeks when I had foot surgery (but I was back, on crutches, in plaster, unpaid, asap). OK, so I have taken time off! But it's all been unpaid time off (no sick pay, here). Also, never have had medication for stress - so I guess that I can't answer the rest of your questionnaire.

 

However, my lack of answers could imply that "I'm a happy bunny, no stress at this place". Not so!

 

So, back to stress .... yes I feel it! Only two days ago, we had the EY mentor in - to talk about IT in the setting. I had agreement from the leader that I could sit in (with deputy and someone else) for this. Some of what she was saying was very useful. It was children's snack time. Unfortunately, one of my co-minions appeared and said (very demandingly) "Come and help here with the children" followed by "You already know about the computer do you don't need that". Oops, stress took over ... I replied that I had the leader's permission to be there. And that, just by-the-way I'm self-taught on the computer - I've nver been trained! And ... have you never thought about doing something on your own! And, yes, I regretted what I said, and, yes, I apologised later ....

 

So there I was, taken away from training, to do the toilet duty. I am not allowed to do "snack time", anyway. My job is single-handed putting away stuff from the first half of the morning - and having my eyes everywhere (comforting unhappy children, getting cloths for spillages, running to toilets, etc., etc)

 

Stress! I feel it all the time at work. I never get to see through any activity though from beginning to end. Even the little bits I plan get interupted. I'm constantly saying to children "sorry, I've got to go and do (whatever), and I'll be back if I can be".

 

My conclusion is that my stress comes from lack of organisation in my setting. I am a qualified, accepting, practitioner and I find the working situation stressful, frustrating and sometimes unfulfilling. And I'm able to understand that this is a leadership defect (and do my best to rise above it). Unqualified practitioners maybe cannot make the same allowances. I probably cause those people stress and frustrate them. I certainly ellicit stress in the leader/deputy, too!

 

In a "voluntary" setting such as a committee-run pre-school, there are so many factors contributing to stress in the workforce. The "uncertainty" of committee from year-to-year is always there. The constant changes in staff unsettle me: I only know that we have new staff when someone appears wearing "staff uniform". I only get to know if someones leaves if they tell me! "Minions" (such as me) aren't allowed to know other staff qualifications/training history/training plans. How can we capitalise on skills/knowledge if we are not allowed to konw? Stress!

 

Sorry - I've stymied the questionnaire!

 

But I couldn't resist putting my point of view (knowing that my setting is probably not representative of professional EY places, but guessing that there are others like me out there).

 

Best wishes

 

Diane

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My answers would all be no as well Peggy, although a year and a half ago I was very depressed due to stresses caused directly by the committee. There were times I definately didn't want to go to work but being the only staff member this was not really an option for me. There were several sessions where I actually had tears running down my face whilst reading in the story corner and the duty parent was preparing snack in the kitchen. I made some lame excuse about having a cold. I'm not saying this for sympathy, just to illustrate how down I was feeling. However, I love my job and the work load does not bother me at all. Just wish I had a few more days in a week. :D

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Hi Peggy

 

I can also answer no to all your questions. I have had depression, but not work/stress related, and no time needed to be taken off 'sick'.

 

I think there probably is a link between those of us in the 'caring' professions and depression - perhaps its the need to take on everyone else's problems that we often neglect to find time for ourselves! We get so used to putting ourselves last that it becomes a way of life.

 

Or have I just been reading too many self-help manuals?

 

Maz

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Hi Peggy

I can answer no to all the questions. I'm lucky that I work in a preschool where the staff have worked for many years and we support each other.

Anita

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Peggy,

 

Sorry. I wasn't a good one to put the first reply, I think!

 

But it seems like we, so far, say "yes, there's stress". But in the next breath, we say "we work through it" (every one more reasoned than me, it seems; but then I don't have the management issues to cope with).

 

Diane

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Peggy

 

Wow what an interesting post. I am lucky enough to fall into to 'No' category I am pleased to say.

 

I do wonder though at the use of the phrases stress and depression. Is it just me or are we all a bit quick sometimes to describe our own agitated state as being stressed. I am also a little concerned by the way some people claim to be depressed when things aren't going so well. There is a big difference between someone being a bit low and a real case of clinical depression. I have know a couple of people who were clinically depressed and only months of care and medication can deal with this most debilitating illness.

 

I, as many practioner sometimes find it hard to walk through the door of the setting and put my proffessional work head on. I empathise with anyone who is dealing with difficulties in their personal lives, this makes it even more difficult to be upbeat and cheerful in the workplace. But this current trend to describe every little hiccup as 'stressful', to the point when I have even heard my own children remark that the demands of life are 'stressing me out' (they are 10 & 7) worries me.

 

Work place conflicts are hard to deal with and be very unsettling. Sometimes you have to confront the problem even though it is going to be ugly in the hope that a resolution can be found. If things are that bad that they are really making you unhappy then surely for your own health and mental well being you are better to move on?

 

Sorry Peggy, not sure if that answers your questions are just creates lots more :o

 

Sue

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Hi Peggy

 

My answers are no to questions 1 - 4, however my doctor has prescribed anti depressants to help me sleep and for other medical reasons.

 

I have never had time off work for stress/depression, in fact Ive hardly hever had any time off for illness at all. I am the type of person who 'keeps on going' no matter what !!.. which is silly I know.

 

I do feel that there alot of people who may be stressed/depressed but havent yet realsised it and on the other hand there are people who say they are stressed/depressed and may not be.

 

I also feel that we should smile, laugh, giggle more in out daily lives and praise people (adults and children) where appropriate and not just take people for granted.

 

I went to a pottery painting party last night and had a wonderful time ... we should all make more time for ourselves :D:D:D

 

Carol

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I can answer no to the questions, but we do have 2 staff members who have time off. 1 through stress and 1 depression. We do our best to support them but unfortunately they don't always accept support. The main stress I feel at work is from these 2 girls. Especially the one who has depression. She comes in and constantly starts bitching about other staff members, and when the 2 are together in the wrong frame of mind it gets seriously bitchy at times. The rest of us get along great though and all support each other. The main problem with these 2 is the lack of commitment to the job when they are feeling bad. They laze about and do not pull their weight leaving the other staff members to suffer and still bitching about them. They go off track with the planning and stick videos on for the children to keep them 'happy', which drives me mad! or they'll just do whatever 'they' want to do.. We as supervisors have to keep a close eye on them and keep the other staff members calm and happy when they are like this!! AAgghh. Stress.. I'm not stressed. :D Seriously though I do think it is a problem. I think that people get stressed and depressed whatever their line of work, but in early years it is not more common but a big problem. The children pick up on it and this is not good for them. :( They also are too young to understand why 2 of the staff are 'up and happy' and playing and having fun and the next minute they are 'snappy, grumpy, bitchy, mopey' etc. Both girls are on medication to help their symptoms but unfortunately this does not seem to be helping them and sometimes I feel the job is just making it worse for them.

 

Ok I'm sorry.. Moan over. Waffle over. :oxD

 

EDIT: Can I just make an off topic PS please. Apologies to anyone I have promised BTTM planning sheets too that might be reding this thread. They are on the way but I have been having PC overload troubles. Caught a undangerous virus, but this hopefully has been sorted and the stuff will be on its way very soon.

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ill change tack then. I have to say im surpised at the no no no answers so far , Ill change that to yes yes yes. I manage a FS team of 12 (well when im there!) of which 3 have been off sick long term with illnesses that i would link directly to stress (athough this cannot necessarily be proved).

 

one of the reason for this has already been mentioned that as early years practitioners we have a habit on going on regardlesss.. sadly the body can only take so much of this. Then of course once holes appear in the team, due to short staffing then others members of the team have to carry the burden, which then leads to stress, and then illness. We may not see these as stress related of course. Sometimes its the frequent short periods of time from work that are the worst ones, you know the person who gets every bug going and never quite recovers before coming back to work- they are likley to be suffering from stress but may not know it or recognise it.

 

sorry peggy i not really answering your questions either....

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Yes, yes, No, no. 2 years ago though I had 1+ 1/2 terms off: severe hypertension, antidepressants, cognitive behaviour therapy and now I'm very happy in a new job where I am

1. Valued

2. Given the time I need to do the job properly

3. Given the support/back up I need, including admin support if I need it

4. Have total confidence in my manager to support me

5. Get regular feedback on my performance

6. Get treated like a professional and allowed to make decisions about my work.

 

Before I was sick none of the above applied. I hated work, I was frustrated beyond belief, I didn't think I had any value at all. I had been seriously bullied and undermined by a colleague who was not managed by the Head(s) and I lost all confidence in my ability to do my job.

 

My new job has stresses but this is eustress rather than distress.

 

It's very wrong that it should be allowed to get to the state I was in : until I was signed off noone gave a damn as long as I kept turning up for work everyday.

 

I feel very angry about the situation I was in still. But I'm very happy now.

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Thank you all so far for your replies and YES Sue, if anyone wants to add to the research results by asking staff in their settings this will be interesting, but to make the research balanced you would need to ask all staff not just include the ones who are in the YES catagory ( if you see what I mean)

 

I empathise and will take on board all your comments and will reflect on these in my final analysis.

 

I do feel compelled to respond to each individual post as this is a sensitive subject which I don't want to ignore individual comments, but my main objective is to collate figures for an overall insight into the subject.

 

However, I do hope that by "sounding off" it helps or by announcing the positives of work you all end up with a "feel good facter" after your responses.

 

Thanks again and keep your replies coming :D

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Peggy

 

Like others, I would say that I have definitely had some low points in work, when I have found it very difficult to keep going in, but in answer to your questions - no, I have never taken time off because of it. The reasons for this are because I am an inexperienced leader of an early years setting, and so I feel that my stresses are my own doing some of the time and so I have no right to be taking time off.

 

On the other hand, I know of another person who seems to get more and more work put upon her by bosses each year, and she usually takes time off in 'stress' at least once a year to "remind them that I'm only human, and they need to sort out the staffing problems, rather than expecting one person to keep going", which I think is a legitimate reason - although it does then put even more pressure on her colleagues.

 

Anyway, I'll stop rambling on now and leave others' some space to put their points of view across!! :)

 

Regards,

G

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I think Catma has hit the nail on the head - if you get the right type and level of support the job is much easier. I have been quite amazed at the complexities of the job all those nursery and FSU managers have to juggle. Maybe it's just easier being a Reception teacher with all those supportive in-house geese around? :o

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Hi Peggy, I suffer stress on occassions, end of term when there are parties and reports and cleaning equipment all to be fitted into a short period. Depression...not since I took over and the other playleader left. But that would of happened where ever I was if she was there so it wasnt necessarily due to the job, just her ability to be so negative to me and everything I did. I didnt had a any time off due to any of it, that would of caused more nastiness and therefore more depression. I was felt to feel that I was really bad at my job and she didnt mind telling me in front of all and sundrie, she once shouted across the hall 'can you get on with some work', this while I was having my hair 'cut' with chop sticks in the home corner. Carol got it right when she said we should laugh more. I am the fool at playhgroup, giggling and doing naughty things, pulling faces when I know I'm in trouble and generally acting like a child. I have been called childish by a previous parent, and i was honoured that she thought so :D It makes life so much easier. I'll ask the others at work on Tuesday. :D

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I hear what your saying Rea,

Instead of "parenting Courses" per say, "grown Ups" could do with some reminders/ lessons on "how to play and have fun" :D We all have "the child" in us, don't we?

Peggy

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I am No to all questions too Peggy.

 

I agree with the earlier view on the use of the words 'stress' or 'depression' (think it was Sue)

 

I would say occasionally there was 'pressure' at work but not sufficient for me to get overly concerned or refer to it as stress.

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Well said mundia. I think many of us fail to understand what stress does to us and fail to appreciate how to take care of ourselves. Of course as Catma says stress can be also be positive and when you are supported and valued you are less likely to fall victim to the detrimental effects of stress. Too often we use the terms incorrectly, as Sue has indicated but true stress is severely debilitating and life threatening if left untreated, if only but not always because we become more susceptible to other illnesses.

 

Stress should not be underestimated. It is a potentially dangerous illness and none of us should be afraid of seeking help, whether that be the help and support if a colleague or medical intervention. If you are suffering stress, you will not be able to function as well as you would wish and the often used term "burnt out" takes on a whole new meaning.

Stress at work can often be managed with support, but when other stresses due to other circumstances come into play the juggling game may become too hard and life changing decisions may need to be taken. But these can not take place until the sufferer is beginning to regain their hold on normality and this will not happen overnight.

 

Have I answered your questions Peggy? I think you may have to read between the lines a little?

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mmmmm, a simple YES/NO would have sufficed :o

Thank you susan, as you say, stress should not be underestimated, I just wondered how many people it effects and how people deal with it.

 

Peggy

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Help please.... 283 views but only 21 replies. :o

 

I would like to "research" numbers, if all had answered the questions I would have quite a comprehensive result to analyse.

 

Thanks

 

Peggy

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Sorry Peggy - I was one of those who viewed but didn't answer. I think this is quite an emotive subject and if you are haveing a difficult time at work (like me) it brings it all up again.

 

My answer is NO to all the questions but sleepless nights of worry... yes! :o

Keep up the good work - you are addressing some important issues.

 

Just to add another point, many pre-school workers (myself included) only work part time , maybe 3 or 4 sessions per week. I'm pretty sure that if I had been working full-time that I would not have been able to cope at work over the last 6 months and may have needed medical help or a change of job.

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Beryl,

Your response is appreciated. Sorry to bring up emotive feelings but I think you understand I want to learn about and address these issues at work.

 

Thank you.

 

Peggy

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I confess to reading this thread and not replying firstly because I was so busy last week as I had 3 grandchildren staying for the week. It was a good excuse for me to do pre-school activities on a small scale and play with the snow outside and in bowls indoors :o My answer to all your questions Peggy is no. There are times of the year at pre-school that are very busy but thankfully ALL my staff and most parents are more than willing to help. I suppose am lucky because I don't really get stressed over anything, my cup is always half full never half empty. xD:(:(

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Peggy - do you have any good stress busting ideas that you could share with the forum?

 

I think you have provided a good one already - trampolining in the snow!! or just trampolining!

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My answer is no to all questions, although I find the period working up to an Ofsted inspection the most stressful. I think working part time helps a lot - lots of time to think about other things if you want to, but leading up to inspections it's hard to switch off.

Carolyn

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No to all questions-busy but not stressed and definately not depressed! I also think that because I only work part time that I find life ok to cope with. I would never have been a full time worker and had a family! I couldn't have done justice to both.

Linda

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