Another school year, another anxiety

Another school year, another anxiety


School can be a strong community and support for young people and children, as well as a learning zone. However, not every child or young person feels excited by this. The new experience of school or new school year can bring worry. Where this is usually short-lived, some children and young people can feel stressed and challenged by school life for longer periods of time. This Youth Mental Health Day, we’ve put together some advice for school-related anxiety. 

Talking about their worries

It’s important to ask a child or young person what’s worrying them. Listening and providing emotional support can be a great first step in reassurance. Let them know you can work together to make things better. 

If you’re not sure how to start a conversation with a child or young person you have concerns about, try these conversation starters from Young Minds.

Work together on changes

Focus on things at school that would help them feel less worried, such as:

  • Talking to a staff member at school that they trust and can approach for a chat or short game at the start of each school day
  • Discussing a safe space with staff members, where they can visit when they feel anxious 
  • Finding ways for them to feel involved, such as joining a school club or taking on a responsibility like becoming a library assistant 
  • Break down the day and ask what may help with each stage, like having a friend meet them at the gate in the mornings

Set a school routine

Plan the school day together, from getting up and dressed, to having breakfast and leaving the house. This can create a sense of security and reduce stress. Prepare together the night before by packing a school bag, laying out clothes and going through class timetables. 

Try a ‘worry journal’

A notebook where a child or young person can jot down their thoughts and worries can help with feelings of overwhelm. Taking something from home into school like a photo or key ring may also help reduce anxiety. 

Encourage activities outside of school that help reduce anxiety 

Exercise, drawing, painting, watching a favourite film, cooking or talking to friends. These are all the kinds of activities that could help children and young people feel calmer. 

Making sure a young person or child is healthy by sleeping and eating well, drinking plenty of water and spending time with loved ones is particularly important outside of school. A healthy lifestyle helps reduce the symptoms of anxiety. 

Recognising the symptoms of anxiety together

Anxiety may make a young person or child feel sick, or they may make their heart race. Getting to know these signs of anxiety together and becoming aware of them can make anxiety less frightening and overwhelming when these symptoms play out. Learning about the symptoms can also empower young people and children to know when to ask for help or act to help themselves. 

Considering counselling and further help

If you know a child or young person that is struggling to move forward with school anxieties, their school may have a counsellor that could provide emotional support and further help. If the school does not provide counselling or a child or young person you’re concerned about would rather see someone outside of school, Bridgend County Borough Council offers counselling services and advice for young people that can help. 

For further information and support surrounding children and young people’s mental health visit the NHS help page.


For urgent help with a child’s or young person’s mental health click here