ANXIETY, not cyber-bullying, is the most common mental health issue affecting high school students, says psychologist Iva Filipovska.
Since 2012, Ms Filipovska has been the permanent psychologist at Mount Lawley SHS and has worked in the sector for six years.
“Cyber-bullying tends to be very prevalent in middle school, when kids first become exposed to social media,” she says.
“But I find the most common mental health issue affecting senior pupils is anxiety caused by exam and study pressure, and family and relationship issues.
“But it’s not just the older pupils that are affected and I see quite a lot of pupils from year seven—which the school has recently started accepting—suffering from study stress and anxiety.”
In a bid to provide extra support she has created a website with sections on cyber safety, meditation and relationships.
“I thought it would be useful to aggregate all the information on a single site which students and parents could reference,” she says.
“Students have found it very useful.”
Ms Filipovska says it’s too simplistic to blame homework.
“I think the workload is in general less than in Europe and anxiety is a complex issue that can be triggered by a number of things,” she notes.
“Each case, and person, is different and has to be assessed on its own merits.”
by STEPHEN POLLOCK