What is Stress? 

Stress is a mental and physical reaction which prepares the body to deal with situations that it perceives as threatening. Symptoms of stress can include social withdrawal, irritability, fatigue, lack of motivation and difficulty concentrating. 

Stress at School

For some young people, school can be a particularly stressful experience. Mild stress can sometimes be beneficial, providing motivation to achieve a goal. However, stress may persist long after the stress reaction is needed. This is called chronic stress, and it can be detrimental to both physical and mental health. 

Chronic stress may increase a person's vulnerability towards developing a mental illness, which is associated with higher levels of school drop-out rates. Thus, knowing early risk factors for stress, as well as prompt intervention strategies, may be helpful for students wishing to continue their studies.

Risk Factors

The following factors may increase students’ stress levels: 

  • Tests and examinations 
  • A heavy workload 
  • A poor sleep schedule 
  • Lack of support from parents or teachers 
  • Bullying 
  • Friendship problems 

Intervention Strategies

Some common strategies for reducing stress can include:

  • Implementing a self-care routine
  • This can include assigning time to relax and doing activities you find enjoyable. (More information on self care can be found in Lifestyle and mental health)
  • Adopting a workload management system that works for you
  • This could include setting goals and ranking them by priority, and if completed, giving yourself a reward
  • Maintaining a work life balance
  • A well rounded and balanced lifestyle not only promotes good mental health but also assists in meeting goals and increased productivity. Therefore, it is crucial to also prioritise life outside of work, such as spending time with family and friends, and participating in hobbies.