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Mental illness and ill health retirement

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Greendams, Nov 14, 2015.

  1. Greendams

    Greendams New commenter

    I have posted on TES for many years, but have changed my log in as my current one is stored on my classroom computer and I would like to keep this post confidential.

    I am an experienced teacher and love the 'in the classroom with the students' side of my job, but since 2010 I have experienced a range of increasingly serious health issues which my GP believe relate to work stress. I have two long term illnesses which are covered by the Equality Act. Earlier this year I became severely mentally ill in school and had to go home initially and then into hospital. I tried returning at the start of this academic year, but quickly became ill again and phoned in sick.

    The headteacher was quite alarmed by the incident and was reluctant for me to return. I have received a long course of treatment which has helped me cope with the symptoms but the illness will always be there. HR and occupational health have been involved and reports have been taken from the medical specialists involved. I would like to return part time, but both HR and the HT seem against this option. I believe they may want to go down the route of ill health capability. I am now wondering if I should consider applying for ill health retirement. I know my GP and consultant would be supportive and the reports clearly state the long term nature of the illness and that it is considerably exacerbated by work place stress. I am finding the process in itself quite stressful and wonder if anyone has been through a similar situation?
  2. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    Yes, PM me.
  3. drek

    drek Star commenter

    My sympathies and I hope things work out for you. Wishing you good health.
    Even with early retirement, you may still be able to go back to part time, but better off on a fresh start than trying to swim upstream, if your HT and HR persons have made their wishes clear. Good luck and keep us posted.
  4. Greendams

    Greendams New commenter

    Thank you both. I don't think I can return to teaching if I take early retirement, but I could look for a job outwith teaching. I think the hardest part is not actually feeling ready to give up. I still enjoy being in the classroom. The stress is from all the 'other' demands. I don't want to list them as I don't want to be identified by the HT, but from reading so many posts on here I know the issues are fairly universal in teaching now.
  5. Greendams

    Greendams New commenter

    rosievoice, I would like to pm you, but can't work out how to do it. Please can someone tell me how to send a pm? When I click on some contributors I can see a 'start a conversation' button. I cannot see that on your profile.
  6. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Can't offer any professional advice, but just sending you best wishes Greendams. Think of yourself & your family.
    Dragonlady30 likes this.
  7. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    @rosievoice may have limited who she can receive conversations from. Hopefully she will be alerted by this tag and will contact you herself.
  8. Greendams

    Greendams New commenter

    Thank you Folkfan and Marlin. The tag is a good idea It woudl be good to talk to someone who has gone through the process as it feels a bit isolating at the moment.
  9. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    Hi Greendams and Marlin,

    I haven't limited anything, as I am technologically challenged / indifferent, and I wouldn't know how to do it !
    TESRosaline alerted me to the problem, and she has got the techie chaps on the case.

    If l pm you, Greendams, you should be able to then respond, and we can go from there. *crosses fingers*
  10. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    I forgot to "watch" this thread, humblest apologies for appearing to ignore you.
  11. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    OK @rosievoice Thanks for letting me know. I hope the TES techies sort you out soon ;) - in the nicest possible way of course! :)
  12. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    @Greendams , just wishing you the best possible outcome in your difficult situation.

  13. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    I applied for and was awarded ill-health retirement for a mental health injury in 2008. I supplied as evidence a report from the psychiatrist and psychologist who were treating me, which stated that the prognosis for my injury were not good and I was unlikely to ever be able to set foot in a school again. It did state that, in time, I may be able to do other work that was not related to teaching or schools.

    I don't know if my experience of applying would be of any help to you, but PM me if you think it might.

    I was also awarded Industrial Injury Disablement Declaration and Benefit for the injury, but this is more difficult to achieve for a psychological injury. You have to be able to prove that the behaviour of the perpetrators was unusual and not part of normal process.
  14. Greendams

    Greendams New commenter

    Thank you for the replies. I saw the 'head' consultant psychiatrist for the health board yesterday. I asked him directly if I could ever teach again and he just shook his head and said the relapses due to work stress had been so frequent that there is a serious risk of loosing any level of normal functioning even outwith teaching. The community psychiatrist wrote twice earlier in the year to the OH doctor warning them that a relapse due to lack of supports would probably constitute an industrial industry. Yet the school went on to place me into a situation in which two perfectly well teachers went off long term sick due to work related stress. Reading what you say, I am not sure if that actually weakens my case as two other teachers were put in the same situation and we all had a detrimental outcome.

    OH were supportive of ill health retirement as the condition is long term and will only get worse if I continue teaching. I am not sure that my actual employers support that view. I think they hope to simply dismiss me on capability grounds. I have downloaded the criteria for ill health retirement and as far as I can see my condition meets it. I do not want to give up working in any capacity long term, but at present I am too ill. I think I will need time and space to see how I recover totally away from teaching.

    I will send you a pm tomorrow GLsghost, thank you. I am very grateful for the support as it has felt so isolating.
  15. Greendams

    Greendams New commenter

    Sorry I should have said capacity grounds (I think that is the correct term for health grounds). One thing that I am very grateful for is that the HT has said in meetings that I am both a competent and committed teacher and that it is not about work performance issues. I know so many teachers have suffered subjective and spurious claims about their performance.
  16. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    I have sent you a PM, Greendams.
  17. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    On the basis of what you write @Greendams I wonder if there might just be a personal injury claim here for the psychiatric injury, too. That is separate and distinct from a claim for Industrial Injury Disablement Benefit, which is a no-fault scheme.

    Succeeding in such a PI claim is difficult because it is necessary to prove (among other things) that the school was fully aware that injury to mental health had already been caused and then breached its duty of care by causing further injury (I paraphrase). It seems to me, however, that in your case the elements might just be in place.
  18. Greendams

    Greendams New commenter

    Thank you GLghost. I have sent you a pm and replied to the pm from Rosievoice which is much appreciated. I am sorry for not replying yesterday. My condition fluctuates and I was too unwell to post then.

    This morning I got the report from the consultant that was sent to occupational health last week. It is very detailed, but the conclusion clearly states the injury to my health due to a poorly managed return after the summer. It also concludes my condition has been long term, is a severe mental illness and will be permanent. It says any return to the current or another workplace will almost certainly result in a relapse.

    I can only think the school must have been aware that injury had already been caused by workplace stress. I went back through my file today and found eight reports from four different psychiatrists outline which clearly stated the impact of workplace stress on my health. Additionally OH have received two letters this year warning of the risks if supports are not put in place.

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