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SOS: Stress On Students

Updated: May 26, 2023

Mental health of Disadvantaged Students #BacktoSchool

It’s the hard truth here - education in Singapore is beyond stressful.

Recently, social media and even the local media were buzzing on the level of difficulty of this year’s PSLE maths paper. It was said to be so tough that some students were left in tears.

The stress imposed on students is unimaginable. For those from a well-to-do family background, the pressure placed on them to succeed with flying colours is high

But on the other side of the coin, we tend to neglect the underprivileged students. On top of the school stress that they face similar to other students, they are grappling with their own personal struggles and stress as well. Struggles that they can’t run away from after the school bell rings.

A cycle that starts at home

According to research, living in a low-income household has been linked to poor health and an increased risk for mental health problems in both children and adults.

Growing up in a poor household may result in the child being exposed to unhappiness due to financial troubles and in turn, more stress. Families living in poverty or less privileged conditions experience a unique array of stressors.

Parents may be absent more often as a result of work - either long hours, or having to take up more than one job - as they try to work hard to make enough money to live. Due to this, children are left to fend for themselves - they sometimes do not get enough nutritious meals, fail to get sufficient sleep and lack the help they need to complete homework.

An absence of support from their parents, along with the emotional pressures of difficulties at home might lead to lower grades and performance in school. In these kinds of conditions, children are more likely to feel hopeless and demoralised, while some may drop out because of the lack of support and motivation. Others may decide to drop out in order to work to help the family’s income. An extended exposure to poverty, especially during childhood, has been linked with poorer outcomes.

Ironically, despite the increased need for mental health services, these individuals living in poverty are the least likely to be able to be connected with high-quality mental health care.

Worsened by the pandemic

Things have been a lot more difficult with the presence of COVID-19. As a result of the pandemic, poverty and inequality are on the rise, pushing disadvantaged children to a greater risk of poor mental health.

For example, during the circuit breaker last year, school shifted to full home-based learning (HBL). Despite the additional support from the Ministry of Education (MOE) and other relevant organisations, children from disadvantaged backgrounds still faced difficulties in adapting - due to the lack of a conducive home environment or the presence of a parent or guardian to facilitate learning.

Additionally, these children may have to worry about the possibility of their parents losing their jobs, not having enough food at home and the absence of parental care when they need it the most.

What we can do

The severity of the situation cannot be downplayed. The future is so uncertain for everyone right now, and especially for children living in these disadvantaged conditions. It is up to all of us to make it brighter for them.

Here at Global Ehsan Relief, we believe in helping underprivileged children to ease their path in obtaining academic success and eventually, thriving in their future.

Join us in our efforts to provide access to quality education that these children need by contributing to our Back to School campaign. We want to ensure that every child is given an equal opportunity in getting quality education and to eradicate educational inequality in our society.

Imagine the impact we would be able to make as a society if every one of us committed to the welfare of one disadvantaged child. Find out how you can help here!

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