This Thursday is R U OK? Day. It is a day to ask your friends and family “Are you OK?” and it serves as a reminder to support people who may be struggling with life’s ups and downs. Throughout school, there is a large focus on many things but something which is less spoken about, but equally as important, is mental health. School, especially in the final years, can be a stressful and anxious time with the expectations feeling insurmountable. Alongside other issues that come with being a regular teenager, the mental health of you and your peers is of the utmost importance.
Spotting the Signs
Approximately two-thirds of people (63%) are not confident they know the signs that someone might be struggling with life.
Before we can help those we care about, we must learn how to spot the signs that they’re struggling. We encourage you to read more about the signs on R U OK?’s website here.
In the final years of school the stress of SAC marks, ATAR requirements for degrees and personal expectations can all contribute to an unhealthy mindset. Signs to look for include being “concerned about the future”, being “unable to switch off”, “changing their sleep patterns” and “constant stress”. Unfortunately these signs are more common than we realise, and we simply accept it as part of the process – but don’t. If you notice your peers exhibiting some of these signs, check in on them. Make sure they’re okay.
If you are struggling with your own mental health issues, you’re not alone. There is no issue too big or small to talk to someone about, and it can be as simple as just letting a close friend or family member that you’re having a hard time. You can also reach out to your teachers for support, as your school will have a mental health plan in place.
If you feel you can’t turn to anyone, or feel that the issue is too big to share with family or friends, there are professionals you can turn to. There are many different agencies you contact contact for support (see them all here), but below we have listed who R U OK? recommend for people under 25 years old.