Youth mental health service ReachOut is encouraging students and parents to take a proactive approach to their mental health and to seek support in the lead up to Year 12 exams
Youth mental health service ReachOut has released new data showing that almost 50 per cent of young people feel extremely or very stressed about study and exams, with similar numbers indicating that study stress is having a major impact on their mental health and wellbeing (46 per cent).
The national survey of over 600 young people aged 16–25 years, conducted by ReachOut in August, also found that study stress was one of the biggest concerns of young people today, surpassed only by stress about the future.
The data shows that study stress is having very real impacts on the mental health and wellbeing of young people across Australia - 75 per cent reported that they lacked motivation and 71 per cent reported changes to their mood as a result of stress about study and exams.
The impacts of study stress on affected young peoples’ physical health and lives more generally included that 73 per cent had trouble sleeping, 42 per cent had to take time off work or study, 39 per cent experienced challenges within their relationships and 37 per cent experienced poor physical health and sickness.
Students indicated that the top three causes of study stress were: worry about not being able to live the life they have planned for themselves (58 per cent), concern about how they will compare with other students (55 per cent) and stress about letting their family down (49 per cent).
CEO of ReachOut, Ashley de Silva, said that the new data is being released in the lead-up to Year 12 exams to encourage students to take a proactive approach to their mental health and to seek support.
“ReachOut’s new data on study stress shows that almost half of young people in Australia are not only stressed about exams and study, but that the stress is also having a significant impact on their mental health, wellbeing, their physical health, and their lives more generally.
“We know that some stress can help us get through difficult tasks such as exams but when that stress starts impacting our mood and other areas of our lives it can impact students’ mental health in both the short and long term.
“With Year 12 exams around the corner now is an important time to remind students to be proactive about their mental health as they work through these last few weeks of high school. Small actions like waking up at the same time each day, taking breaks during study sessions and staying connected to the people who are important in your life can make a big difference.
“I also strongly encourage all students to seek help if study stress is becoming unmanageable for them. That could look like opening up to someone you trust, making an appointment to see your GP, calling a helpline or logging on to ReachOut,” he said.
Benjamin Bartlett / 0449 251 700 / firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ashley de Silva, CEO of ReachOut
- Linda Williams, Clinical Lead at ReachOut
ReachOut encourages safe reporting about mental ill-health and suicide and encourages media to report according to the Mindframe guidelines.
National survey of over 600 young people aged 16-25 years, conducted by ReachOut in August and September 2022.
- When asked what they have been concerned, worried and stressed about in the last year, study stress was the second issue of concern (over 71% of those surveyed), following worry and stress about the future. 66% of young people surveyed said it was the most concerning issue for them.
- 48% of young people surveyed were extremely stressed or very stressed about their studies.
- 46% of the sample who experienced study stress said that it had a major impact on their mental health and wellbeing.
The survey showed that changes that occurred in young people’s lives due to stress and worry related to study included:
- lack of motivation and not doing things they enjoy (75%)
- trouble sleeping (too little or too much) (73%)
- trouble focusing (72%)
- changes to their mood (71%)
- took time off work or study due to study and exam stress (42%)
- experienced challenges within their relationships with their friends, families or partner due to study stress (39%)
- experienced poor physical health or illness (37%)
When asked what it was concerning young people about study in particular, the most common responses were:
- worry about not being able to live the life they have planned for themselves (58%)
- worry about how they will compare with other students (55%)
- worried they would let their family down (49%)
- worry about getting a job (47%)
- concern about getting into the course they want to (41%)
- concern related to the impacts of covid were only applicable for 12% of those surveyed.