Health is Wealth - The mental health of A Level Students


The stresses of a-levels have taken a toll on the mental health of college students, especially after the Covid 19 pandemic. Many students over the recent years have been recorded to suffer some form of mental distress, for example anxiety attacks or periods of depression.

Schools opening after the pandemic led to a gradual climb into normal life, resulting in lower grade boundaries for exams and more leniency in education overall. This was changed in early 2022, when grade boundaries increased to reflect 2019’s standards however that also came with emotional baggage from the students who had to keep up with this sudden change in pace.

I spoke to two a level students from different schools of schools, one from an accessible college and another from a sixth form competing with grammar schools. The two had shared the same sentiment with the college student stating that, “a-levels have definitely taken a toll on my mental health and it’s hard to find time for myself these days,” which the other student agreed to. The sixth form student had informed me that she was taking four a levels and after asking for her experience so far she had told me, “this year has definitely been the hardest one for me academically speaking. I only recommend you take four a levels if you’re prepared for an intense workload.”

Statistics from the House of Commons Library have stated that the mental health conditions reported by students by 2021 were seven times higher as compared to a decade ago, in which had increased to over 5% of the youth’s population. The same source had also stated that in a 2022 survey for the mental health of young minds, a staggering 57% of participants self-reported a mental health issue and 27% had said they had a diagnosed mental health condition.

Poor mental health in students can lead to many alarming outcomes such as dropping out and/or in the most extreme cases – suicide. There are a multitude of ways to combat this, such as cognitive behavioural therapy with a 50-75% success rate after only 5-15 modules, and picking up hobbies such as crocheting, which releases serotonin (a natural anti-depressant) due to the repetitive nature of the activity.

Overall, as the expectations of students rise up over the years, so will the number of reported cases of mental distress, however the many emerging treatments for such negative emotional states provides a sense of hope for the upcoming youth in society.