More than half (60%) of UK teens are grappling with growing school work anxiety, a recent study by financial institution Lowell has revealed.
Analysing responses from 1,500 children aged 6–16, Lowell’s research uncovers the extent to which the pandemic has negatively impacted students’ mental health. The survey showed that 31% of kids across the nation currently suffer pandemic-driven anxiety, stating that they are “constantly worried”.
When asked to list their top concerns, more than half (57%) listed school work as their main source of worry, followed by their family’s financial situation (23%) in second, and food poverty in third (15%).
COVID-19, e-learning and students’ mental health
With 73% of teenagers confirming that the coronavirus crisis had increased their daily anxieties, the general consensus was that the state of their education and social life – or lack their of – were the main drivers behind their growing concerns.
Education institutes of every level were forced to revert back to online teaching following January’s school closures, with the ensuing cancellation of exams and collapse of the economy contributing to feelings of employment uncertainty. These worries are in no way unfounded; according to research conducted by MoneySavingExpert last year, the number of 18- to 24-year-olds claiming Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance doubled in the UK between May and August 2020.
Only last month, the government announced that exams and assessments would once again be cancelled in favour of teacher-predicted grades, following a national spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases as we entered 2021.
While 60% of teens are feeling anxious about their school responsibilities, 55% are worried about the results of their school tests – likely a continuation of the angst and confusion following last summer’s exams fiasco, in which 36% of A-level results were downgraded by the Ofqual algorithm, sparking the controversial government U-turn towards teacher-assessed grades.
What maybe more alarming is that 35% of teenagers are worried about their mental health due to the restrictions put in place for COVID-19.
“During this time of global instability, many people are anxious about a number of things,” said John Pears, managing director of Lowell UK.
“As a parent myself, I find it very upsetting to think that children are worrying about anything, let alone family finances.
“We would urge anyone, regardless of whether they have children, to reach out and speak to someone if they are struggling with their finances. There are a number of organisations out there who can provide specialist impartial support to anyone who is feeling pressure.”