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23 November 2014 Posted by 


Changing friendships cause for concern


FOR many school leavers the end of exams celebration takes years of planning and for their parents – years of worrying.

“Schoolies” started in Queensland last week and already cracks are emerging.

Organisers say one of their biggest challenges this year is dealing with the fallout over changes in friendship groups, particularly among girls, with up to 50 per cent of accommodation bookings modified so far.

Kids Helpline, Australia’s only 24/7 national children’s counselling and support service, is preparing for the annual calls from teenagers ahead of the celebrations.

Kids Helpline General Manager Wendy Protheroe said needing to deal with changing friendship groups was a real concern.

Ms Protheroe said friends and peer concerns accounted for almost 10 per cent of the most common issues and concerns identified during Kids Helpline counselling sessions last year.

“Managing friendships can be particularly stressful at any time but when young people are on the cusp of major life milestones, like finishing school and planning their futures, everything gets magnified,” she said.

“You add the pressure of final year exams and it can sometimes feel overwhelming. Sometimes, you may fall out with a friend you’d planned to celebrate an event like Schoolies with and it adds to the headaches,” Ms Protheroe said.

Organisers said one of the problems stemmed from school leavers having to book their rooms so far in advance.

“Sometimes the groups are no longer friends by the time Schoolies comes around and this can create real stress,” she said.

Ms Protheroe said girls were more likely to seek help, with females making up more than 80 per cent of counselling session with Kids Helpline last year.

“Kids Helpline is available 24/7 to all Schoolies during their celebrations, particularly if they feel like they can’t speak to their friends or call their parents; we are there to be the next point of call,” Ms Protheroe said.

Schoolies celebrations will take place at many locations around Australia and overseas, with more than 30,000 school leavers expected to converge on Surfers Paradise alone.

Kids Helpline is Australia’s only national 24/7 counselling and support service specifically for children and young people aged 5 to 25 years – free call 1800 55 1800 or online at www.kidshelp.com.au


Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
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Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) covers the business and community issues of the Greater Western Sydney region of Australia. WSBA is the popular media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities and networks.