AWARE call for more support for young people experiencing exam stress

AWARE call for more support for young people experiencing exam stress

Published on Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Posted in News

AWARE call for more support for young people experiencing exam stress

AWARE, the national depression charity for Northern Ireland, believe that more support is needed for young people experiencing exam stress following a recent report from ChildLine which said that counselling services to children during 2016/17 increased to 3135 - a rise of 11% from the previous year. In total, 93 of these sessions were with young people contacting the service from Northern Ireland, this again is another rise of 78 from the previous year.

Stress about exam results can affect a young people’s ability to sleep and can trigger anxiety attacks, depression and eating disorders. In some cases it can also lead to self-harm and suicidal feelings, or make pre-existing mental health conditions worse.

Michelle Byrne from AWARE said,

“AWARE deliver our ‘Mood Matters Young People Programme’ to young people in Schools and community settings across Northern Ireland. When we meet these young people, they speak openly about the pressure of exams and the high expectations that are often put upon them to achieve top results.

“These young people are calling out for support and often talk about not knowing where to go, or who to talk to because of the pressure they are feeling to succeed. Whilst our Mood Matters programme is an extremely effective resource in providing them with the knowledge and skills to maintain good mental health and build resilience, AWARE is only funded to deliver this programme into one-quarter of post-primary schools across Northern Ireland.   

“Being aware of the signs and symptoms of depression and talking to young people about mental health is very important in ensuring a safe environment for them to open up if they are struggling. Symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, loss of interest in daily activities, an unusually sad mood and difficulty making decisions are all indicators that a young person could be suffering from depression. If you are worried about yourself or someone you know, please seek help immediately. Depression is an illness that can be treated and you can recover from.”