Managing students’ mental health - Education Matters Magazine
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Managing students’ mental health

As Year 12 students around the nation begin preparations for their final school exams, stress levels can be high, but as relationship service provider Interrelate explains, there are a variety of techniques teachers can use to help assist with the mental health of their students.

According to Interrelate, final school exams, transitioning to high school and end of year burnout can all contribute to higher levels of stress among students. However, as the not-for-profit organisation asserts, high stress levels can lead to longer-term issues if left unchecked.

Interrelate points to a UNSW School of Education study that surveyed 722 Year 12 students from a range of schools across Sydney. The research concluded that 42% of the respondents registered high-level anxiety symptoms, high enough to be of clinical concern. Yet the organisation warned that overemphasising the enormity of the end of school exams can pose a danger when it comes to mental health.

“Parents, especially at key times in their child’s life, have a lot of concerns around the mental health of their children and are often at a loss as to help them cope, feeling overloaded with complicated information themselves,” said Patricia Occelli, CEO at Interrelate.

“Stress is a normal part of life and something that everybody experiences. But, children and even young adults have often not developed their skills enough yet to cope with stress and can find change overwhelming.”

“Whilst it is encouraged to seek appropriate solutions to the experiences of young people, teaching children simpler approaches can help create greater resilience for when stressful situations arise. Something as simple as a deep breathing exercise can be all it takes to return to equilibrium and this is something that can be developed as a life-long habit.”

Ms Occelli advises that the best way for adults to help children navigate through this myriad of changes is to bring it back to basics, by being present and available. By using some simple techniques that can be implemented anywhere and at any time, teachers and parents can help to set up life-long coping mechanisms in children that can help them through stressful situations and retain a healthy outlook on life.

Teachers can download separate tip sheets for managing stress in both primary and secondary school aged children by clicking here.