Need help now?

17yo unable to study due to anxiety

17yo unable to study due to anxiety

Casual scribe

17yo unable to study due to anxiety

My 17 son has developed such a high level of anxiety around schoolwork that he is unable to join his online classes or to do any schoolwork. He’s missed most of this term and I can’t see how he can pass the year. He is now also scared to leave the house so I don’t know how he would be able to return to the classroom if they do return to face to face learning.
He is talking to a psychologist and we are trying to get him in to see a psychiatrist.
In the meantime his school keeps telling me that we can get through this. While I’m terrified of the impact on his future of not finishing year 11, I’m just not sure how and if we can make this work.
If I push him to try and work he has major anxiety attacks, but I feel like I should keep trying in case we can somehow get through year 11.
If we give up and let him stop school I’m worried that he will become isolated from
friends and even more incapable of leaving the house. I just don’t know what to do.


Re: 17yo unable to study due to anxiety

Hello @Lozzamuzz, sorry to hear that your son has been experiencing such high anxiety lately. That must be hard on both of you. It sounds like you have been really involved in your son’s life which is really great to hear. I am sure that he appreciates the great support that you have been providing. Getting support from a psychologist was a great move and I hope that he has been finding it to be helpful.


It is also good that you have been communicating with the school around this, it sounds like they want to support you and your son in the best way possible, so that he can complete what is required for this year. Would you be able to talk with someone from the school about developing a plan of some sort for your sons academic requirements? You might find that having the requirements and plans mapped out helps to ease some of the uncertainty around your son’s school year.  Have the psychologists given you or your son any tips for how he could manage his school course load? If not, this might be something that you can ask the psychologist about as they might be able to develop some strategies with your son to ensure that he can get through some school work successfully.


I hope that things get better for your family soon Smiley Happy


Casual scribe

Re: 17yo unable to study due to anxiety

Unfortunately the psychologist doesn’t seem to be helping. He seems to be suggesting we should just give up on school and is not really giving us any tools to use.
Apart from the psych it just feels like everyone is telling us to keep him in school and no one is giving us any concrete advice on how to make that happen when he literally can’t do any work at all and can’t leave the house.
Just holding out hope of getting in to see a psychiatrist and getting some medication started.
I really just want someone to tell us what to do and how to do it because I have no idea.

Re: 17yo unable to study due to anxiety

Message contains a hyperlink

Hi @Lozzamuzz, it sounds like things are so uncertain right now and I can't imagine how worried you must be feeling. You have taken all the right steps in reaching out to a number of services which can be exhausting in itself.  It really is a shame that the psychologist doesn't seem to be helping. It can be so frustrating to reach out to a service and not receive appropriate support. I know it can feel quite bold and straight forward but I am wondering if you have told the psychologist about the type of support you are after? It might also be worth seeking a second opinion if that is possible. I really hope that you are able to get in contact with a psychiatrist soon - it sounds like they might be able to offer another perspective. 


If you are interested, we also offer a free professional service that provides one on one support. You can read more about it here.


Please feel welcome to keep us updated Heart

Active scribe

Re: 17yo unable to study due to anxiety

Hi Lozzamuzz

I'm having the exact same issues with my 17 year old son.
He has not done any school at all this year.. He refused to go to school at the beginning of the year so I went in to meet with teachers to see what could be done and 2 subjects that he wasn't keen on doing that he didn't need to do to get the grades he'd need to follow his passion ( Graphic Design/Digital communications... were dropped
Any way he still refused to go and would and still does get highly emotional and stressed when I only ask him about school.
He told the teachers and myself that he would do online learning, but has not applied himself at all.
I think after everything it is better to support my son to just mend and get better rather than trying to force something that just isn't going to happen.
and as time goes on he hopefully will mature and make the decision to either re do those missed years online or just do a college course instead.
He is extremely anxious, has threatened suicide when he feels forced into a situation that he is anxious about.
I've found him curled up on the floor crying many times.
He is unable to control his emotions.
He says there's something wrong with his brain.. that he can't concentrate or remember stuff. That his memory is failing him.. He is seeing a social worker and psychiatrist.. but the help seems so superficial..
He was treated for 3 &1/2 years with chemo for ALL ( Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia ) and I've done a lot of research that shows children treated for brain tumours and his type of leukaemia often have post chemo difficulty later on in their adolescent and adult lives such as anxiety, emotional stress, memory disfunction and other neurological damage.
I cry nearly every night just wondering what to do, and how will he be as a young adult..
Im just glad I have my Christian faith to get me through
Casual scribe

Re: 17yo unable to study due to anxiety

I’m sorry to hear that you and your son are going through this too.
We have made the decision to withdraw my son from school - he was not going to be able to pass yr 11 and would not want to repeat at the same school if at all.
We are now trying to get him better and looking into finding him a casual job. In time we’ll have to make a decision about whether he returns to study but at the moment we are just focusing on his health.
Good luck with your situation, I hope it improves soon.

Re: 17yo unable to study due to anxiety

Hi @Lozzamuzz, thank you for updating us. I am sorry to hear that you had to withdraw your son from school. It sounds like it was the right decision for your family albeit a really hard one to make. Having a job can be such a rewarding experience for young people. Good luck with the job searching! Is your son still involved with the psychiatrist?


Re: 17yo unable to study due to anxiety


The same thing has happened to my son (17yr yr11), he has withdrawn from school, attempted a tafe course which he could also not complete and now he is looking for a job. 

It looks scary at the moment but as long as we keep them in good spirits they will find their place. 


Re: 17yo unable to study due to anxiety

I hope your son is doing better. I have teen girls that went through a lot of the same stuff. My senior had to drop out of her high level courses - it was too much. Additionally her grades had fallen and she was testing poorly. Social anxiety as well due to staying home and e-learning. The best take away is to support them going back physically to school. When they confront the fear they learn to face it head on, and deal with it. I’ve found the more you allow for the avoidance of a fear, the more the fear grows. You aren’t alone in this - take care and good luck
Community Manager

Re: 17yo unable to study due to anxiety

Hi @whirly , 


Thanks so much for sharing your experiences here, how is your daughter doing now? The transition to e-learning was rough for so many young people, has your daughter returned to school in person now? 


@hk012  I'm so sorry to hear that your son also had such a tough time, how did he go finding work? Has he had any professional support to help him with his mental health at all? I think you're spot on, supporting young people with their mental health truly is so important - and I'm sure he will find his path with such supportive people in his life. 

Moderator Hours

This forum is moderated from

09:00AM to 11:00PM

We are not a counselling or crisis service and we can't guarantee you'll get a reply, so if you need to talk now

Click here for help

The current time is Thu, 3:15 AM
(Australian Eastern time)