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Fears for children who are stressed by school and their futures

By PA Reporter

Children as young as 12 are being struck down with illnesses because they are so stressed regarding decisions about their futures, according to a study.

Stress-related illnesses have been spotted in teenagers facing a range of important decisions such as A-level choices, whether to go to university and which career path to choose, according to a study of 1,000 teenagers by the National Citizen Service (NCS).

Some 88% of 12 to 18-year-olds said they had felt stressed in the past 12 months and two-thirds said they reacted with tell-tale symptoms in insomnia, eating disorders, depression and by lashing out at friends and relatives.

Studying and doing well at school triggered stress in 81% of teenagers, while making decisions about their future unsettled 35%.

Arguing with friends was stressful for 30%, while family disputes upset 29% and finding a boyfriend or girlfriend was named by 20% for their stress levels.

Trying to looking good on social media was blamed by 15% as a stress trigger, while 14% did not want to disappoint their parents and 13% were being affected by their efforts to be popular at school. Avoiding bullying was stressful for 12% of youngsters.

Even at this young age, 11% of teenagers said they were worried about money troubles.

Biting their nails more than usual was a give away that they were suffering from stress, according to 28%, while 21% said it was by their shutting themselves off from family or friends.

Lucie Russell, campaigns director at YoungMinds mental health charity, said: "We need to ensure young people are equipped with the skills to deal with these pressures and to navigate positive paths into adulthood."

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