Samaritans in Galway is calling on students and parents to ensure young people receiving their exam results this week are not put under unacceptable pressure.
With more than 55,000 students having received their Leaving Certificate results, Samaritans says it is crucial to emphasise that emotional wellbeing is more important than grades.
Keeping results in perspective and their options open helps young people – and their parents – recover if they are disappointed or do not get a place on the course or career they want to join, says Cindy O’Shea, Irish regional director for Samaritans.
"We need to make sure young people who are anxious know they can help themselves by talking to someone about the way they feel and by dealing with their worries.
“It is also helpful for young people to think about how they can relax and distract themselves so that they are able to take a break from thinking about their results,” Ms O’Shea says.
“Anyone worried about themselves or a student can contact Samaritans for free from any phone on 116 123, text 087 260 9090 or email [email protected].”
Samaritans volunteers across the country visit schools and colleges to talk to young people about emotional health and the importance of seeking help, talking and listening to others who may be going through a difficult time.
Coping with exam stress is also one of the topics Samaritans’ Developing Emotional Awareness and Listening (DEAL ) resources for teachers covers, through a series that helps pupils to build emotional resilience and to support each other.
Anne, lead volunteer and branch director in Galway, says exam results can be stressful.
"We hope all students are pleased with their results. If you are not, remember results don’t define who you are, or show all that you can do.
“There are other opportunities and a chance to study again if that is what you want to do. You may need to make other plans and take some time to think, but that’s OK.
“It helps to share your thoughts and feelings with someone, so do talk to friends, teachers and parents about how you are feeling, and look out for your friends. You will be OK, and Samaritans is always here.”