How to Help Students Make it Through NAPLAN

17/05/2018

It’s that time of year when students, teachers and parents start to feel a bit anxious … NAPLAN.

While the usefulness of NAPLAN testing is a hotly debated topic, what is not up for debate is the associated anxiety for all involved. However, what can students do to help themselves through this stressful period?

A recent international study involving 266,939 people worldwide has revealed the benefits of exercise for mental health and well-being, as well as in the prevention of depression.

Dr. Joseph Firth from the University of Western Sydney, who was involved in the study, explained, ‘People who were sufficiently physically active were at 15 per cent reduced risk of developing depression,’ Dr. Firth said.

While the minimum amount of exercise needed to obtain these benefits is unknown, as little as 2.5 hours of exercise per week is associated with a 22% risk reduction of depression.

‘During exercise, certain chemicals are released in the brain which act like antidepressants,’ Dr. Firth explained. ‘And that can be protective if there are other stressful things happening in our lives that might otherwise cause depression.’

Encouraging young people to continue with regular exercise during stressful periods such as exams is critical, as this provides them with a well-needed break from study and is important for maintaining their physical and mental health. Keeping up with club and team commitments, exercising, spending time outdoors and socialising with friends are good for mental health and well-being, and are things the Act-Belong-Commit Campaign encourages us all to do.

Jasmine Prince, a student from Mount Lawley Senior High School, recommends keeping involved in extra-curricular activities during the exams, ‘You need those activities to take your mind off of it and to take a break for an hour or two. It’s really important because if you’re just studying and stressing about that all the time, it’s not good for your health.’

‘We often see students becoming consumed with studying when it comes to testing and exams periods,’ says Mentally Healthy Schools Program Coordinator, Phoebe Joyce. ‘It’s vital for schools to encourage young people to keep up with whatever exercise they find enjoyable and keep student’s mental health and wellbeing as a priority during NAPLAN testing time.’

Schools across WA can join the Mentally Healthy Schools Program to better equip their students to deal with life’s ups-and-downs. To find out more visit actbelongcommit.org.au or phone 08 9266 1873.

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