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Upper secondary school students overwhelmed by stress, union warns

More than a third of upper secondary school students said they have worried about their mental wellbeing during the past year.

Nuori laskee matematiikan tehtäviä funktiolaskimella.
Image: Tiina Jutila / Yle

More attention needs to be paid to the wellbeing of high school students and young adults, says the Union of Upper Secondary School Students (SLL).

The organisation said at a national congress that it was concerned about young people’s coping skills, given that one in three students said that several times a week they felt overwhelmed by school work, according to a survey by the national public health watchdog THL. In addition, some 35 percent of high school students said that they had been concerned about their mental wellbeing in the past year.

"No balance between work required and time available"

"Students have been forced into a situation where there is no kind of balance between the work required and the time available. Courses are full of requirements so that it is common that people don’t even have time to work together. Learning feels like it’s entirely about performance – this must change now that the curriculum is updated. We must be courageous enough to pare down the targets," SLL chair Alvar Euro said in a statement.

The Finnish Education Evaluation Centre said that senior high school students find it more difficult to ask for help than to get it. Meanwhile the students’ union has called for the entire education community to place emphasis creating on a caring environment.

"When people are concerned about their personal wellbeing and that of others, then help must be readily available. At the moment there are huge variations in the availability of student care services. Psychology, counselling and medical services in particular require better resourcing," Euro concluded.

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