Revision! Revision! Revision! As exam season is approaching, more and more students are certainly feeling pressured and stressed to do well? Has school stress become a leading cause of mental health issues within teens?

As a student, you've most likely heard phrases such as “I'm so tired and stressed” from fellow students. You may have even said it yourself. This is probably due to stress. Stress is the body’s reaction when a challenge is faced. It can lead to physical changes and mental health changes. Every year, millions of students take exams and it has been reported that anxiety and stress are common among students.

According to The National Student, a survey was conducted which revealed that  82% of students suffer from stress and anxiety and 45% suffer from depression. Furthermore, what’s even more concerning is that ⅕ students deal with suicidal thoughts. With this many students suffering from mental health issues, only 25% of the students admitting to suffering those issues have gone to seek help.

What are students most stressed about these days? Students loans? Although that is something students are stressed about, a research that was conducted by suggests that what students are most worried about is whether they have chosen the right major and whether they can get the grades they need. Many parents and mental health experts blame the government and school for not installing more help systems and giving students no time to adjust to the new GCSE system.

Whilst we are on the topic of the new GCSE reform, many people criticise the new GCSE system due to its harsher grading system. People who received a grade 8 may not be as happy as someone who receives an A* in the old grading system.

Moreover, for the new English GCSEs are no longer open book exams meaning students will have to rely solely on their memory to provide quotes in the exam. This means additional stress which can lead to mental health issues within students.

In 2017, during the exam period, Childline experienced an increase in counselling sessions delivered. It was a 2% increase from the previous year and an 11% increase from 2 years ago. This, no doubt, correlates with the new GCSE reform. Critics have responded and said that the UK is the only European country that has exams for 16 years old and among the most tested pupils in the world. Are these statistics a cry for help from students?

Further research has shown that students suffer and are most vulnerable to stress. On average, students spend 12 days per month stressing and 69% often worry about how the stress will impact their overall health. Students spend time stressing due to things such as exams, money and just everyday life issues. A while ago, Twitter user @bleedmagic (now known as surfacetrembles) brought up the argument that schools blame social media for the cause of depression whilst the real reason, which is pressure from school, is always overlooked. Imaan Ansar, who is a student, also agrees and said that “we feel a huge amount of pressure on us from all the constant exams”.

The first symptoms of stress are irritability and sleep problems. Excessive stress can lead to mental health issues such as depression, palpitations and shortness of breath. If you are experiencing symptoms of stress, please don’t be afraid to talk to someone about it. Speak to an adult or speak to organisations such as Childline and Mind. Listening to music and reducing your workload can decrease your stress levels. NHS has breathing exercises which can help you relax and de-stress:

For those of you out there dealing with stress, don’t ignore the warning signs-it can lead on to more serious issues.