In the UK, the number of youngsters seeking help for stress of exams is rising. Pressure from exam boards has increased, pushing students to their emotional and physical limit. Some may believe pressure is just part of the school program, but is it necessary to push young people so far?
“I’m too stressed to even tell you anything,” my friend types back to my message, asking how he felt about exam season. A common response — everyone, absolutely everyone, seems to be “stressed,” whether academically, creatively, both or neither.
According to a report from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, there has been a huge spike in the number of students seeking counseling services at University, with one institution seeing an increase of more than 50%. In the four years between 2012 and 2016, the report claims that mental health problems on campus had risen from around 8,000 to over 18,000, with anxiety and depression being the main issues treated. The stats speak for themselves, but are young people receiving enough support?
Some argue that this “stress” is simply part of the human experience. Sociologist, Frank Furedi states
“the epidemic of exam stress is far more likely to be the outcome of the medicalization of children’s existential experience than the outcome of the intensification of classroom pressure.”
If society could concentrate less on the negativity of the actual word and learn to accept it as part of a normal life, maybe children would stop blaming their workload.
Regardless of its root cause, stress around exam season will always be high. The best way forward would be to provide them support and to create an environment in which students can be tested, but not over-strained.