Finding a job and a secure future after school are driving worrying levels of exam stress for regional students, with Australia’s leading youth service reminding them it’s not too late to ReachOut@ExamTime.

The new research, released today, shows over half of all regional students are showing worrying levels of stress at exam time and are more likely to put pressure on themselves than their city counterparts.

One-in-four regional students who sought help for exam stress also turned to their GP or a mental health professional – twice as likely as metropolitan students – and relied more on support from their teachers.

It is the first year ReachOut has released regional-specific analysis as part of its annual exam stress campaign, with CEO Jono Nicholas keen to encourage more students in the bush to check out for a range of unique support services targeted specifically at helping them plan for exams and life after.

“ReachOut has always been focused on the fact there are different stresses faced by young people in the regions and it can be tough going. It’s about future job security, they don’t necessarily want to leave their towns but worry what the future may hold for them,” Mr Nicholas said.

“It’s a big added pressure at exam time when you consider many regional students know they may be forced to move hundreds or thousands of kilometers away from their family just to find a job or continue studying.

“The beauty of is we can help you plan life after exams as well, so if you’re still feeling unsure about what the future holds after the final school bell rings, we’re only a click away, anytime of night or day.”

Mr Nicholas said regional parents had a big part to play in helping alleviate exam stress and revealed had also launched a dedicated toolkit supporting them as well as part of this year’s campaign.

“Whether you’re a student or a parent dealing with exam stress, is here to help – it’s available for free anytime and pretty much anywhere, so it’s perfect for people living in regional Australia.”

ReachOut is accessed by 132,000 people in Australia every month. That’s more than 1.58 million each year.


Key Regional Findings

Worrying exam stress levels 52.80% 50.06%
Sources of Exam Stress
Pressure from myself 72.60% 62.00%
Worrying about getting into my ideal course 36.80% 41.90%
Worried about the future generally 43.40% 34.80%
Worried about getting a job 34.90% 27.60%
Sources of Help
Parents 72.00% 76.40%
School/Teacher/Counsellor 60.00% 48.60%
Friends 40.00% 52.80%
Doctor/GP & Mental Health Professional 24.00% 12.50%
Online search 8.00% 4.20%


Source: ReachOut Exam Stress Study, 2017


ReachOut’s Top 5 Tips For Regional Students and Their Parents To Beat Stress @ExamTime

For Students

  • Check out the tools, tips and stories available at com/Exams and learn how to feel better and study smarter at exam time.
  • There are lots of different pathways to achieve your goals, especially if you don’t get the outcome you hoped for. There are other ways to get into uni; heading to TAFE instead might be something worth considering; or taking time off can help you decide what to do next. Just remember: your mark won’t define you: there is life after Year 12 exams.


For Parents

  • Look out for the signs that your teenager might be stressed. If they’re having problems sleeping, are being increasingly irritated or have trouble concentrating, finding it hard to connect with others, or feeling depressed, panicky or anxious they could be overly stressed and it might be time to do something.
  • Help them find time to do things that they find relaxing. Together with looking for opportunities to relax, encourage them to be active, eat well and sleep well. Go for walks or be active as a whole family and make healthy meals (limiting caffeine and sugar).
  • Reflect on your own expectations: are you on the same page as your child? Teens can feel stressed and worthless when they’ve tried but failed to meet expectations. Encouraging your child to be honest about how they feel, and accepting and acknowledging their effort can be really helpful to you both.



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Media contact

For interviews and further information please contact:

Doug Millen

02 8029 7725 | 0425 865 851



About ReachOut Australia

ReachOut is Australia’s leading online mental health organisation for young people and their parents. Their practical support, tools and tips help young people get through anything from everyday issues to tough times – and the information they offer parents makes it easier for parents to help their teenagers, too.

ReachOut has been changing the way people access help since launching as the world’s first online mental health service nearly 20 years ago. Everything they create is based on the latest evidence and designed with experts, and young people or their parents. This is why ReachOut’s digital self-help tools are trusted, relevant and easy to use.

Available for free anytime and pretty much anywhere, ReachOut is accessed by 132,000 people in Australia every month. That’s more than 1.58 million each year.

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