Coping with stress
Alongside building up your students’ motivation and confidence, it’s important to factor in one core emotion that has a tendency to get in the way of even the best of intentions: stress.
Researching universities, sending out applications and taking tests and exams are all huge sources of stress in students’ lives. In fact, a huge 80% of young people have had their mental health significantly impacted by exam pressure.
These normal sources of stress have only been exacerbated by the pandemic, with many teenagers feeling increasingly socially isolated, or those whose families are coping with loss and grief or increased financial instability.
It’s a good idea to spend some time talking to students about what a normal level of stress feels and looks like, and when it’s becoming too extreme.
Of course, these can be tricky areas to talk about, particularly for somebody who hasn’t been trained as a mental health professional: many teachers feel they’re not qualified to teach students about disorders like anxiety and depression.
But while you can’t provide therapy or counselling, you can certainly lay out the signs and symptoms and - crucially - let them know where they can seek help.
For example, you might want to remind students that they're not burdening their loved ones if they open up to friends or family. If that’s not an option, your school might have a wellbeing counsellor or nurse. Or, you might live in an area where trusted charities or healthcare organisations offer free support for teenagers.