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School survey: Bullying and anxiety increased after pandemic

There had previously been an expectation that anxiety among teenagers would reduce after the pandemic.

A teenager sitting on a flight of stairs, shot from above.
Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva
Yle News

Anxiety levels among Finnish teenagers have increased since the Covid pandemic, according to the latest school health survey conducted by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

The proportion of young people reporting anxiety has grown since the 2021 survey, which took place when school and hobbies were still under Covid pandemic restrictions.

More than 20 percent of eight and ninth graders said they had moderate to severe anxiety. Girls were more likely to report anxiety than boys, with up to one in three girls saying they were anxious compared to one in ten boys.

THL research boss Olli Kiviruusu said in a press statement that he was surprised by the results.

"We expected that anxiety would have reduced, because it has been some time since Covid," said Kiviruusu.

THL Chief Physician Terhi Aalto-Setälä said that adults' concerns about security and the economy easily pass on to young people.

The number of children suffering bullying at least once a week also increased. Some 8.6 percent of boys and 7.5 percent of girls said they were bullied at least once a week.

The 2023 school health survey was answered by about 91,000 eighth and ninth grade pupils.

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