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Problems at school

Some of us enjoy school, some of us find it tougher. If you’ve got a problem with school, there are ways to get help.

What's worrying you?

Everyone worries about things that happen at school from time to time. It’s a rare student who sails through school without experiencing some sort of issue.

There’s a lot of pressure to get good results, and the stresses and strains of school life can sometimes feel too much. The important thing is to recognise there’s a problem to be solved and ask for help as soon as you can.

Some school problems you might worry about include:

  • finding schoolwork difficult, or having problems concentrating in class if others are noisy and disruptive
  • tricky relationships with friends and friendship groups
  • not getting on with teachers, feeling like you are labelled as 'trouble'
  • bullying
  • problems at home - your parents’ relationship, sibling issues, a housing problem or simply feeling unsupported
  • specific difficulties such as dyslexia or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Please remember that, although school is important, it isn’t worth sacrificing your mental health for. You don’t need to be the best to be good enough.
Laura

How do you feel?

Any of these things can make you feel very unhappy and out of control. You may feel sick, have headaches or stomach aches, or find it hard to get up and get ready for school. Your marks may drop and you may feel less motivated to do homework. You may feel stressed and angry, or withdraw and develop depression or low self-esteem. It may be that you feel these emotions at school, but you are fine when you get home.

Some people may become reluctant to go into school, or even refuse to go at all. In extreme cases, they may truant without their parents knowing or exhibit behavioural problems such as lying, stealing or being aggressive.

Tips from our activists

Our Activists and bloggers share their tips on overcoming problems at school:

Constant pushing from school to be a ‘star’ student was only making me unhappy, as the goals they were setting me felt completely unreasonable and unachievable to me.
Becky
School can be a great place for socialising, but don't feel you have to at the expense of your own happiness or to 'keep the peace'.
Rosie
Dysfunctional friendships can ruin your school experience, so be honest with yourself about which relationships are healthy and which aren't.
Rosie
Sadly, bullying is common in schools, but it’s important to remember that the bullying will come to an end a lot quicker if you tell someone what’s going on.
Calli
Look into your options more closely – your school may have a support system, but you just might not be aware of it.
Laura
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What can you do?

If you’re worried about any aspect of school, it’s important to talk to your parents/carers or a trusted adult about what is bothering you as soon as possible. They can approach the school to address the problems and work together to help resolve them.

Schools have a set procedure for helping with student problems, and the first port of call will probably be your class teacher or tutor. Schools will also have an anti-bullying policy.

If you have learning difficulties, speak to the school’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). If you have stopped attending school, an Education Welfare Officer will work with you and your family to support your return to school. They can also apply for extra funding from the council to help you in school. 

If you think you may have a mental health issue, speak to your GP who can refer you to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS) if necessary. When you’re over 11, you can also access youth counselling services. There may be different options available depending on where you live, so even if you're not 11 yet, speak to your GP to find out more. 

If you are a parent or carer of a child or young person who has school worries, we are here to help you. Our Parents Helpline can give you free, confidential advice and information. We can talk through concerns about your child's problems at school and suggest ways to get help.

Yes, school is important. However, your mental health always comes first.
Laura

Where to get help

YoungMinds Crisis Messenger

  • Provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK if you are experiencing a mental health crisis
  • If you need urgent help text YM to 85258
  • All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors
  • Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.

Samaritans 

  • www.samaritans.org
  • if you're in distress and need support, you can ring Samaritans for free at any time of the day or night.
  • freephone (UK and Republic of Ireland): 116 123 (24 hours)
  • email: [email protected]

childline

The Mix

  • www.themix.org.uk
  • if you're under 25 you can talk to The Mix for free on the phone, by email or on their webchat. You can also use their phone counselling service, or get more information on support services you might need. 
  • freephone: 0808 808 4994 (1pm - 11pm daily)
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