At least one in 10 teachers have thought of hurting themselves or their family members because of pressure at work, a survey has found. The Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong survey of 1,022 teachers from 34 schools found that 55.4 per cent experienced heavy work pressure, with almost 20 per cent of those surveyed describing it as extreme. Frequently changing education policies caused the most pressure (77.3 per cent), followed by pupils' problems (54.8 per cent) and meeting school expectations (52.5 per cent). More than half of the teachers said they had felt sick, and 44.7 per cent had suffered from insomnia as a result of work pressure. Thirty-nine per cent said they became depressed and moody, and more than 10 per cent said such symptoms were of a severe nature. Nearly 78 per cent said the pressure had affected the quality of their teaching. The survey also found that 62 per cent chose to talk their problems over with friends and relatives, while eight per cent wept. More than 85 per cent said the most efficient way to ease pressure would be to have extra resources and staff to help handle administrative work. A further 74 per cent also said reducing class sizes would provide a remedy. However, 11 per cent of the teachers polled said they had thought of injuring themselves or those around them. Of those, more than 80 per cent were aged between 20 and 39, and 61 per cent had been teaching for fewer than 10 years. Survey organiser and psychologist Dr Angelis Chan Joy-kong said the findings showed that the pressure put on teachers had already exceeded bearable limits. 'This problem [has] buried a time-bomb for our future as the price of overburdening teachers is not paid by them alone, but also our next generation and the whole education system,' he said. DAB legislator Chan Kam-lam said the government should reduce class sizes and consult teachers more on education policy. 'We also urge the authorities to implement a mentor system in schools in which each new entrant teacher will be assigned an experienced teacher to serve as mentor to advise on their work and ways to handle pressure,' he said. Legislator Cheung Man-kwong, president of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union, said teachers, especially those teaching languages, often complained to his union about being forced to work a seven-day week. The Education and Manpower Bureau said that over the years, it had introduced various schemes to ease teachers' workloads. It said as each school had different needs, it was up to their own management to decide how to use extra resources.