Belfast school girl aces A Level exams despite depression diagnosis
Former Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School pupil, Emma Norris received excellent results in her A Levels despite missing six weeks of school due to depression. Emma was in her final year of school and studying for her important A Level exams when she came out of school for six weeks to help recover from depression, an illness that affects 350 million people globally.
Emma tells her story,
“A-levels aren't the easiest of exams at the best of times. I would have good days where I could follow what was going on in school and in lessons, but that would be followed by a couple of bad days - so I would still be lost as to where I was in my studies. I wasn't getting the continuity I needed to do well.
“It was around March 2016 that I really started to feel better but that didn't give me very long t study for my upcoming A Level exams. I more or less studied for my A-levels in a matter of weeks, so I'm delighted to have got an A* and 2 A’s - I wasn’t expecting those results at all.
“I am hoping my grades will have secured a place for me in St Mary's University College to study to become a Maths teacher. I would also hope to specialise in pastoral care so that I can help other students who suffer with depression or mental illness whilst in school.”
Emma works closely with mental health charity, AWARE and is hoping that her story will encourage other people, particularly young people to come forward and seek the help they need to recover. Emma said,
“AWARE is a fantastic charity and I am delighted to be working alongside them telling people my story in the hope that it will help other people. Depression is a very isolating illness, but with charities like AWARE working to help people, no one should ever feel alone.”
Siobhan Doherty is the Chief Executive of AWARE,
“Over 6000 young people under the age of 19 in Northern Ireland are receiving anti-depressants. A lot of these young people will be studying for their GCSE and A Level exams just like Emma was. I hope that Emma’s story will inspire other young people and comfort them with the fact that just because you have depression, does not mean you can’t do well in your exams.
“We deliver the AWARE Mood Matters Young People’s programme in to post-primary schools to 14-18 year olds across Northern Ireland and we hear first-hand the stress and pressures young people are under. The Mood Matters programme provides them with the knowledge and skills to maintain good mental health and build resilience in order to better deal with problems and challenges.”