Covid-19 has impacted all of our lives and, in many cases, our wellbeing too. With disruption to daily routines, a shift to online learning for many and important milestones being missed, it has been a particularly challenging time for teenagers and their families. And, with Term 4 here and many students preparing to return to face-to-face learning, students across the country still have significant challenges to contend with this year.
This is especially true for Year 12 students who are approaching their final exams. In particular, this year has had a significant impact on fundamentals of their mental health and wellbeing like sleep, nutrition and their relationships.
A ReachOut survey* found that there has been a significant increase in the severity of study stress for young Australians this year, with approximately one third of students reporting that study stress is currently having a major impact on their mental and emotional wellbeing, up from 18 per cent in December 2020.* The survey also found that the number of young people reporting poor mental health or wellbeing as a result of study stress had doubled from 25 per cent in previous years to 56 per cent this year.
And, with the number of students unable to focus doubling to 68 per cent, 57 per cent having trouble sleeping, 39 per cent reporting poor nutrition and 32 per cent reporting that they had experienced issues with their family, it is important to find ways to help manage teens’ study stress, implement proactive strategies to look after their wellbeing and seek professional support if needed.
Setting teens up for study success can be stressful. Add the impacts of Covid-19 into the mix and it’s a whole new ballgame. New routines and changes to learning styles have, at times, created stress for the whole family, especially with everyone spending more time indoors. And, now with a transition back to face-to-face for some, stress, particularly for those in Year 12, is having a significant impact on many teeangers right now.
One student from Victoria said: "I have definitely found it harder to concentrate in class and have to spend more time doing my homework. I also worry that Covid-19 will impact my exam results.
"Thankfully, my friends and family have been really supportive this year and I've found it helpful to set small goals every day so that things don't become too overwhelming."
What hasn’t changed however, is the importance of education. As learning styles transition and routines change once again, it is important that guardians work with teenagers to create a positive environment to minimise tension and take care of everyone’s wellbeing.
ReachOut has seven strategies that can make a real difference:
ReachOut’s Online Learning Survival Guides for young people and parents are filled with practical tips and tricks, including support for study stress.
*National surveys of over 1000 young people (aged 14-25) across Australia conducted in September 2021 and December 2020 by ReachOut.