The changing nature of work is impacting the mental health and wellbeing of young people, and causing high levels of exam stress among students, according to the newly released ‘Ready or Not’ report by ReachOut and EY.
‘Ready or Not: Equipping young people for the future working world’ involved a national survey of over 1000 young people aged 14-25.
The Ready or Not report found that work, money and study were identified as the main sources of stress for young people with at least 25 per cent of students so stressed by exams they sought help from a counsellor, GP or mental health professional.
Less than half of those surveyed believe they are ready for the workforce after finishing their studies (47 per cent), almost one in five students said they didn’t feel confident they would be able to find work (18.7 per cent), over 40 per cent of students surveyed felt the training and support they received was not adequate to find work, and many young people want more opportunities to develop their experience of the working world through placements, internships, apprenticeships and volunteering (28.4 percent).
According to Ashley de Silva, CEO of ReachOut, the stress is often a result of the pressure on young people to do well in exams, find stable employment and gain financial security in a more precarious work environment impacted by automation, globalisation and the gig economy.
“What comes through from the report is that concerns young people have about work and their future is impacting them right now when it comes to stress about exams. We know that unhealthy levels of stress can impact mental health if left unchecked,” said Mr de Silva.
He said the Ready or Not report showed that action was needed to build young people’s resilience and mental wellbeing and help manage the stress and anxiety they will experience in the future working world – adding that parents, carers, families and educators also required support to be able to assist the young people that turn to them for help.
“As end-of-year exams kick off, we wish all Year 12 students across Australia the best of luck and remind them it’s important to keep stress at healthy levels by using simple strategies like taking breaks, refuelling with healthy food and getting enough sleep,” Mr de Silva added.