Tackling Seasonal Affective Disorder
In the latest instalment of her fortnightly column for TES, Bedales Head of Sciences Emily Seeber explains why teachers might be feeling down this winter, and what schools could do to tackle seasonal depression.
Emily says: “At this time of year, it is still dark outside when I get up for work every morning. In fact, at the time of writing, sunrise is at 7.46am, which means I am already at school when the sun comes up. The sun sets at 4.46pm, and although I finish teaching during daylight hours, it hardly feels like it with the sky as miserable as it has been recently.”
“According to the British Medical Journal, as many as 6 per cent of Britons have a major form of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. What’s more, SAD occurs more commonly in women – and given that the majority of teachers and teaching assistants are women, that means that every winter, huge numbers of people in our schools are experiencing severe seasonally induced depression.”
Emily suggests some “blue-sky” ideas to tackle the problem in schools, including the introduction of a seasonal timetable, light therapy, Vitamin D supplements and switching the long summer holiday to winter.
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TES invites Science questions for Emily Seeber to address in her regular column. Contact Jon Severs at firstname.lastname@example.org.