Nearly half of Scottish teachers have seen a medical professional in the last year as a result of stress and workload, according to a survey.

A poll by the NASUWT teaching union also found one in ten teachers had been prescribed anti-depressants to help them cope, while seven per cent have increased their reliance on prescription drugs.

Nearly two thirds feel their job has adversely affected their mental health and more than three quarters said they report they have experienced an increase in workplace stress over the past year.

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Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said the survey was a clear indication that mental and physical health of too many teachers was being "broken" by the pressures of excessive workload, violence and indiscipline from pupils and management bullying.

She said: "Many teachers are walking away from the profession to salvage their health and family relationships and this in turn is understandably deterring new recruits from choosing a career in teaching.

"Too many schools have become toxic environments to work in, where constant pressure, bullying and unsustainable workloads are making teachers mentally and physically ill.

“Action to address this must start at the top. The solutions to begin to alleviate this issue are there but they need statutory force and concerted attention from ministers and employers to making sure teachers feel empowered and supported at work, not broken and exhausted."

The survey also found that, in the last 12 months, 22 per cent of teachers said they had undergone counselling and three per cent were admitted to hospital.

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Teachers reported a number of concerns including anxiety, loss of sleep, increased use of alcohol. Nine per cent said their relationship had broken down as a result of stress and two per cent said they had self-harmed.

Over half of teachers said their job satisfaction has declined in the last 12 months and 55 per cent have seriously considered leaving the teaching profession in the last year.

The figures are released as the NASUWT began its Scotland conference in Glasgow.