In addition to the 940 teachers citing mental illness among the 1,893 public school teachers who quit for health reasons, the report also showed that mental illness was behind more than 60% of the 5,458 teachers who took sick leave in the same school year.
With mental illness among educators rising annually, it was the first report in which MEXT had given the departing teachers the option of citing it as a reason for leaving the job.
The large ratio of patients among teachers has prompted the ministry to pledge to form measures to deal with the problem of mental health.
Ministry officials refused to comment on the findings, saying that they required observation over a number of years. The ministry compiles reports on the reasons teachers leave before retirement every three years, and the 2009 academic year was an interim report for the 2010 academic year survey.
Over the 940 teachers who left their positions for mental health reasons in 2009, 634 were women, more than double the 306 men who did so.
MEXT has issued Japan’s 47 prefectural boards of education with instructions to relieve burdens on teachers by alleviating burdens on public school teachers by lightening their administrative duties or improving efficiency. It has not issued directives regarding teachers’ mental health, leaving that task up to the prefectural boards.