Anxiety and exams - any young person can suffer

headspace has issued a timely reminder to thousands of young Australians about the effects of anxiety during exam periods and while they wait for final exam results.

Currently, students across the country are completing their last weeks of school and university.

Anxiety affects many young people during exams and can be heightened as students wait for results and further education offers.

This period of waiting and worrying can affect a young person’s mental health and wellbeing.

Vikki Ryall, Head of Clinical Practice at headspace, said during this particular period anxiety can impact any young person, including those who are normally on top of life’s challenges.

“Anxiety becomes a problem when it occurs frequently, feels overwhelming and interferes with daily functioning,” Ms Ryall said. “For some people, if left untreated, anxiety disorders can develop into other mental health difficulties and can lead to disease, drug and alcohol misuse.”

People who believe they have an anxiety disorder should visit a doctor, or seek professional advice.

Hannah Cheers, 23, a headspace Youth National Reference Group member, has suffered anxiety but through guided self-help techniques has learnt how to help with her anxiety when it surfaces.

“I always try and keep in mind that there are reasons why you might be feeling anxious and those feelings are valid,” said Hannah. “Using mindfulness, understanding your senses…doing something that makes you feel grounded can really help.”

Tips for helping with anxiety:
  • Keep in touch with friends, even if it just a little bit every day
  • Do daily exercise – walking is a great way to clear your head
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Try breathing exercises, mindfulness or guided relaxation
  • Find things that help de-stress you


Anxiety facts:
  • Anxiety is one of the two most common problems affecting young people
  • It’s estimated one in five females and one in ten males aged between 16 and 24 years old are affected by anxiety.
  • Young people may be more likely to experience anxiety if they have another mental health issue, such as depression.
  • Early detection and treatment is important to reducing the negative impact anxiety can have

If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, visit to find your local centre
or call or contact eheadspace on 1800 650 890 or

For further information, or to arrange an interview with Vikki Ryall or Hannah Cheers, contact:
Annie Waterworth
headspace Media Co-ordinator or (03) 9027 0127