HALF of teachers in Scotland are affected by mental ill health due to the pressures they face at work, according to research.

A study by the Mental Health Foundation Scotland found 71% of teachers lack the training to help them address mental health concerns with their pupils and only 13% of teachers were found to have received Mental Health First Aid training.

Meanwhile, there has been a 20% rise in the number of young people being referred to specialist support (CAMHS) since 2015.

It is thought that 10% of young people have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem, while one fifth of teenagers may experience a mental health problem in any given year.

Some 51% of teachers said the pressures of their job have led them to develop a mental health problem such as depression or anxiety or have exacerbated an existing problem.

Teachers also expressed concern that the health and wellbeing pillar of Curriculum for Excellence is not taught with the same commitment as reading and writing even though 86% believe that it is just as important.

The Foundation has called for mental health training to be embedded in the teacher training curriculum at the outset of teaching careers – a proposal backed by 92% of teachers.

Toni Giugliano, policy manager at the Mental Health Foundation Scotland said: “It’s remarkable that despite the growing number of children struggling to cope, mental health is still not a core part of the teacher training curriculum.

“Understanding child brain development, emotional vocabulary, self-esteem, self-care and managing stress are not extra-curricular – they should be core to what teachers learn from day one.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Children’s Service Coalition, which campaigns to improve services for vulnerable young people, said: “We welcome the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government which pledged that by the end of academic year 2019-20, every local authority will be offered training for teachers in mental health first aid, using a ‘train the trainer’ model to enable dissemination to all schools.”