HSC help: tips for Year 12 wellbeing

06 Apr 2022

Female student sits at desk in a classroom holding a pen

So, you’ve reached your final year at school!

Whether you’re feeling excited or overwhelmed (or maybe a bit of both) about what lies ahead in 2022 and beyond, putting in place some simple strategies and routines can help you feel focused, motivated and supported throughout the journey.

‘It can be helpful to think of preparing for it as you would a marathon, rather than a sprint,’ says clinical psychologist Olivia Liew. ‘Make choices that will sustain you in the long term, even beyond Year 12.’

Liew works with young people and families in a multidisciplinary community mental health team. She is also a research assistant with Growing Minds Australia, Australia’s first clinical trials network in child and youth mental health.

While recognising that Year 12 can be stressful and all-consuming, Liew emphasises the importance of keeping perspective. There is always more than one pathway into a course or career, she says.

‘Year 12 is not the end of the road. It’s the start of new and exciting opportunities to pursue whatever vocation, career or passion you choose.’

Here, Liew shares her top tips for keeping life balanced in Year 12.

Maintain your routine

It can be hard to maintain a routine when you’re trying to keep up with schoolwork and deal with other pressures. However, a balanced routine is the foundation for managing stress. Try to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night, maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Doing these things may seem boring, but they are so important for getting into the right headspace to manage the pressures of Year 12.

Continue doing some extracurricular activities. It is important to take regular breaks from study and to intentionally make time for activities that you enjoy. When we get stressed, these can be the first things to go, but they can keep us motivated when the study gets tough.

Be kind – to yourself and others

Your friends are likely experiencing similar worries and it can really help to talk about it together. Be there to listen and support each other! A little kindness goes a long way. Encourage your friends to reach out for help.

Be kind to yourself and realistic in your thinking. Try to be as understanding and supportive of yourself as you would be of a good friend.

Access online resources

There are so many great online resources you can tap into for strategies and support. The Head to Health website is a directory of online mental health resources that can help you to navigate what’s out there. Some specific resources include:

  • Moodgym, a free online self-help program for people who may be experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety
  • This Way Up, which has some free/low-cost online programs on topics such as stress management
  • Headspace website, for reliable, helpful information on general mental health and wellbeing that is specific to young people
  • Headspace app, a mindfulness and relaxation program.

Reach out for help

It’s never too early, or too late, to ask for help. Speak to your parents, the school counsellor, your year adviser or a trusted teacher at your school.

Adults can be a great source of advice, as they have been through school and come out the other end. They can also help you to access further mental health support if you need it. This could include seeing your GP for a mental health care plan referral, which gives you up to 20 subsidised sessions with a psychologist or other qualified mental health professional.

If you're feeling overwhelmed and you’d like to talk to a trained professional, you can also call Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) or Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636).