By Hannah Cross
New research released by youth mental health foundation headspace shows the distress levels of young Australians are at record highs.
The report’s been released during National Mental Health week and details some alarming results.
It found almost one in three young Australians has reported high or very high distress levels, triple the rate from 2007.
WA has the second highest proportion of young people reporting these levels of distress.
Kids Helpline Virtual Services Manager, Tony Fitzgerald, says they receive calls year-round about stress levels and education.
In its 2017 Kids Helpline Insights Report, it says that of all calls made to the helpline that year, one in 25 was related to study or education issues.
While Fitzgerald says these calls may not have anything to do with exams in particular, it shows young people are constantly reaching out for support in this area.
WACE exams begin at the end of October – and teachers notice the increase in distress every year.
Stefani Ntoumenopoulos is a year 12 teacher at St Stephen’s School in Duncraig. She notices a high level of distress around the exam period, especially with last year’s student group.
“Last year’s Year 12s … I found them to be highly stressed.
“Students bursting into tears in the middle of a test or having to leave the room and walk out.
“I’d never seen that happen before,” says Ntoumenopoulos.
She says she and other teachers have also noticed that students are showing an increased need for constant reassurance.
She says it can take a toll as a teacher.
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Ntoumenopoulos says it’s important to keep things in perspective, stay organised, and remember to rest.
If you think you or anyone you know is experiencing psychological distress, you can access resources from headspace and Kids Helpline. If you are in crisis and need support now, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.