Female primary teachers have higher risk of suicide, statistics show

Female nursery and primary school teachers have a significantly higher risk of suicide than the average woman, statistics show, amid warnings it is ‘one of the most highly stressed occupations in the country’.

According to figures just released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), female nursery and primary teachers are 42 percent more likely to kill themselves than the average woman.

Of the 139 suicides among teaching and educational professionals between 2011 and 2015, almost three quarters (73 percent) — or 102 suicides — were recorded as primary and nursery schoolteachers, the majority of which were by women.

Male teachers were not at particular risk of suicide. But men are, in general, at much greater risk of suicide than women: four out of five – 10,688 in total – of suicides in the period covered were men.

It is the first time that the ONS has released a breakdown of suicide figures by occupation.

Nansi Ellis, of the ATL teaching union, said: “The statistics give a hard edge to the stories we hear time and again from our members – that they are exhausted from the constant stress of never feeling they are on top of their workload, and that they feel expected to devote every minute of their lives to their work.”

“That this toxic mix could be leading to an increase in suicides is a scandal.”

The ONS report states: “Attempting to explain suicide by occupation is complex, as it is likely that a number of factors act together to increase risk.”

It added that low pay and low job security increased an individual’s vulnerability to suicide.


Suicide is the leading cause of death among adults under the age of 50 in the UK.
If you are struggling to cope, please call Samaritans on 116 123 (this number will not appear on your phone bill), or visit the Samaritans website.