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Pressures On Teenagers
Lauren Beesting, Features Writer
High school introduces a whole plethora of pressure on teenagers as they decide what they want to do in their futures.

Sixth form is a big culprit for focusing your attention on your future whether that be university, apprenticeships etc. causing many students to crack under this pressure mentally and emotionally.

Coming into sixth form as a 16-year-old means you are pushed to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life, if you don't have a plan you are pushed by teachers to choose alternate options that they 'believe' suits you.

Mental health in teenagers has taken a huge hit as more and more teens have begun to suffer depression and anxiety that routes from the stress of simply being a teenager.

English teacher at Benton Park School, Lisa Padmore, believes that "anxiety is a growing issue", but each child has their different ways in which it "manifests... [such as] lack of attendance, weight loss and weight gain."

The mental health of teenagers "can be influenced by a lot of different factors other than school work, teachers must be aware of students' lives inside and outside of school."

Sixth former Molly Cook (17) believes that students can develop mental illnesses from "pressures of coming into school and getting along with people, and the pressures of society; wearing the right things and acting the right way."

Adding the social pressures of 'fitting in' with the pressures of choosing the right life choices all before you are even classed as an adult seems far too much for a teenager to be put through with the personal struggles of growing up and being educated is hard enough without the pressures of fixing your future whilst you're still a child.

From choosing your GCSE subjects to you're A-levels you are working on guiding yourself to the future that you think you want, but haven't got a chance to understand your aspirations because you are so young.

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They load an abundance of responsibility on your shoulders which can quickly become unbearable.

Molly voices that choosing your career at a young age is ridiculous because "the probability is that I will be working for 70 years" in the job chosen at 17 years old.

Teachers "give us options [about our futures] but make it clear what they want you to do because it looks good for them."

Teachers tend to push students into choosing university over the other options but don't take into consideration the fact that it isn't the best option for every student no matter how good it makes the school look.

The Statistics

Statistics found in a recent study show that three in four mental health illnesses start in childhood presumably since people are more impressionable at young ages and so become easily effected by their problems and lives causing them to suffer from problems.

The shocking discovery from the mental health organisation shows that 10% of children have a diagnosable mental health illness yet 70% of children and teenagers don't receive the medical help and support they need.

Mental Health

Putting pressure on teens about their futures means that they are forced to grow up quickly missing out on the good parts of their teenage years, being blinded by the social and economic pressures.

Financial pressures become apparent in teenage years as they are required to balance school and work in order to afford a social life as well as added costs in education (textbooks etc.), this causes strains in energy levels as they are expected to have full days at school all week and then work all weekend on top of this.

All these pressures are factors that are supposed to prepare students for adulthood.

It is believed that by learning these qualities at an early age they will be more prepared for the real world by the time they leave school.

However, Molly speaks that "you stress too hard which can result in damage to your social life in the long term" and teenagers will still be suffering these problems well into their adulthood simply because they were rushed into it too soon.

Is throwing them in the deep end and expecting them to float a good way to teach them?

Or does this just accumulate to preventable mental health problems?

The education system

Lisa stresses that "teachers work hard to differentiate current systems (one-size fits all.)" yet believes that we should create a more "catered or understanding of individual needs" education system.

Many argue that there are an abundance of organisations and charities that cater to teenage mental health which allows many teenagers to cope with their illnesses and hopefully overcome them.

English teacher Lisa believes that schools as a whole do "as much as possible" to cater for mental health issues when you "look at the budget cuts."

However, student Molly Cook believes improvements on teaching people the signs of mental health illnesses are important as "people aren't aware of the signs and put for instance anxiety down as just being nervous."

After asking Lisa a mother of two what her hopes are for her children she told me that she wanted them to get chances to be "happy, supported and be able to reach their full potential" in their school lives, maximising the support given to students can help this be a reality for all students.

In many school students who have an idea to do one career at GCSE get to sixth form and have completely changed this idea hence needing a new set of subjects in order to be qualified for that job.

I wanted to be a fashion designer in high school and then found from the subjects I chose that I had a bigger interest in writing and so through searching the universities entry requirements for fashion journalism at an early age I decided on my A-level subjects, but that was easy for me because I've always wanted to go to university but many students haven't got a clue what they want and would find this change in interests to be a huge struggle.

Is there a correlation between pressures on teenagers and mental health issues? Probably. It is almost impossible to handle all these pressures at an early age without being affected in some way. It still matters that teenagers receive guidance and support from their close family, friends and teachers to help them get through the stress.

Pressures On Teenagers, 10th October 2017, 15:21 PM