HSC mental health crisis hits girls hardest
Female Year 12 students are struggling to deal with the disruptions of 2020 more than their male peers with new data revealing more than half are worried about their mental health going into the HSC.
Many soon-to-be graduates are "frustrated" by the impacts of the pandemic on their final exams which begin tomorrow.
Research released by DrinkWise found almost half of female students are "crying a lot".
"There's been no access to the library or our teachers, we've had tech difficulties with Zoom and we feel disadvantaged by the pandemic," Brigidine College student Brianne He told The Daily Telegraph.
"We check in with each other if we are feeling down, we go grab some food, we rely on the group chat, but we don't know what's going to happen yet so we feel very uncertain."
A staggering 70 per cent of Year 12 girls are feeling stressed or anxious about preparing for the exams and 47 per cent are "worried about the world in general".
For young men those figures come in at 55 per cent and 35 per cent respectively.
The survey found 53 per cent of female students were worried about their mental health compared to 34 per cent for males.
Saint Scholasticas' Luxe Murrell is taking solace knowing everyone her age is going through the same unprecedented experience of the HSC.
"When the time comes we'll all do it together, we've already been through so much this year but it's everyone - not just one individual person," she said.
One third of students say they wouldn't be comfortable accessing support services and only 4 per cent have accessed professional help despite their concerns.
Young Australians will be among the hardest hit by the pandemic downturn as jobs and opportunities are wiped away for years, numerous studies have warned.
St Clare's College Waverley's Charlotte Di Lorenzo has been bouncing between libraries with her friends trying to find a place that won't kick them out after two hours.
She is considering becoming a lawyer but the "economic burden" caused by the pandemic has her worried as does the future structure of Australia's crippled universities.
"I've heard about (plans) to raise uni fees for humanities and law, that's the area I'm looking into so there may be a lot of debt," she said.
Ms Di Lorenzo, like many students surveyed, felt the impact of COVID-19 when it came to 18th birthdays, formals and graduation ceremonies.
"We had our graduation over zoom and I'm the eldest so mum just had to watch over a computer," she said.
DrinkWise launched a campaign, You Got This, to try and reassure Year 12s as they face the HSC.
Video messages of support have been made by journalists Leigh Sales and Georgie Gardner, politician Tanya Plibersek and commentator Jamila Rizvi.
Governor-General David Hurley, NRL players James Tedesco and Damien Cook are among other names already lending their weight to the cause.
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Originally published as HSC mental health crisis hits girls hardest