Chloe Sweet | Contributing Writer | Thursday, 13 July 2017

Pressure Of Exams Has Caused An Increase In Youth Suicide

Pressure Of Exams Has Caused An Increase In Youth Suicide

The Debrief: Expectations on students to achieve higher grades has had a devastating effect on their mental health

While grade boundaries are going up, and children and young adults are facing more and more pressure to succeed during education - new figures have been released that show an alarming increase in youth suicide during exam season.

Research at Manchester University finds that a total of 96 people under the age of 25 took their own life between the months of April and May, which is considered the busiest and most stressful time of the year for students. When starting university in September, it was reported that 88 young people also took their life – which experts say could be a result of struggling to cope with the transition of moving away from home. 

It is a troubling number of young people who decided to do this, no matter the bright future ahead of them – and it should force us to revaluate the expectations that are put on teenagers to achieve the highest grades. Suicide, especially in young people, is a complex issue. But it is one that needs adressing.  Experts warn that academic pressures might contribute to the number of children and young adults taking their own lives, as the study found that 43% of 145 teen suicides in the UK were a result of exam stress.

What does it say about our society when almost one in three teen suicides happened when students were in the middle of exams or waiting for their results? What it says, is that we need to provide more support to young people who are struggling with their mental health, whether they are taking their exams or not. It says that we need to change the way we look at education, and really come to grips with the fact that the pressure to get into a university at the top of the league table, or to get a first-class degree, is just not worth losing the life of somebody whose life had barely even begun. 

Author of the study, Professor Louis Appleby told The Guardian that suicide is the leading cause of death in young people in England and Wales.

The leading charity for prevention of youth suicide in the UK is Papyrus – they provide confidential advice to young people or anybody worried about a young person. 

If you, or anybody you know are struggling with this, call the Papyrus Hopeline; 0800 0684141

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Tags: University, Education