When you're at school

Teen boy at school desk

It's normal to feel affected by your family life at school.

Remember that you don't have to pretend you're okay when you're not – and it's never too late to ask for help!

Problems can affect you at school

  • Have you had a late night because of Mum or Dad? You might be tired and find it hard to concentrate on any work.
  • You might keep thinking about your parent and worrying about them at home.
  • You might feel hurt by comments made, or be affected by rumours.
  • You might feel less like joining in and feel withdrawn.
  • You might not be able to complete your homework or school assignments.
  • You might be teased and bullied – or even be bullying other people if you're feeling angry or down.

You can get help and support - no one has to know

  • Most schools have policies that allow you to get extensions on assignments or homework if there are family difficulties.

Girl talking to school counsellor

  • Some young people even do year 12 over two years, because they have so much going on at home.
  • In most schools you can go to the school counsellor and speak to them privately about what is going on. Then they can talk to or write to your teacher for you – saving you all the stress of doing it yourself. 
    • Here's a story about someone who got some support from the school counsellor and had a great result!
  • If you don't want to talk to the school counsellor, then what about your favourite teacher, the chaplain or school nurse?
  • In most schools there is also a policy of confidentiality - so that if you want to talk it is between you and them only. (But if they think you or someone else is really not safe, then they may have to tell someone else.)
  • If it's hard to study at home you can often get a place organised out of home. You can also join a study group after school. Your counsellor or teachers can help with this – ask them about it!
  • Some organisations offer free tutoring if you need help at school and have a parent with a mental illness. Call Young Carers on 1800 242 636 to see if this is available in your area.
  • If you don't trust the staff at school you can go online to web or email counselling at Kids Helpline or headspace.
  • Or call Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800.

The school has been awesome. They've given me extra time on assignments if I need it. They've set me up with counselling and given us boxes of food sometimes if I need to cook that night.
Sarah, 15

  

Koolta - rapping about having a parent with a mental illness

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