The Galway branch of the Samaritans is calling on society to stop placing excessive emphasis on examination results.
Thomas McDonnell, its local PRO, says it is essential that young people are aware there are many options open to them on leaving second level education.
His comments came as anxious city and county students received their Leaving Certificate results yesterday (Wednesday ).
“We need to move away from this fixation with exam results being the single most important factor in determining a young person’s future success. Everyone has different skills and gifts and young people need to be reassured that there are a variety of different options available to them in life,” states Mr McDonnell.
Young people need to be able to spot the telltale signs of stress so they can help themselves, he says.
“It is important that young people have the knowledge to identify potential signs of stress in themselves so that they can take steps to improve their emotional health and seek support or help others to access it if they need it. Samaritans is there to offer support 24 hours a day to anyone who is distressed but feels unable to talk to family, teachers or friends.”
Exam results time can be filled with tension as young people contemplate their futures, he outlines.
“Panic, anxiety, fear, guilt and despair are just some of the emotions that might be running through the minds of students. Managing these feelings can seem impossible especially without the emotional release of having someone to talk and offload to.”
He says stress about exams and exam results is one of the top reasons young people contact the Samaritans which provides confidential emotional support round the clock.
“The Samaritans recently produced an online emotional health resource to help young people spot signs of stress in themselves and their friends. It offers guidance on how they can tell someone if they are struggling emotionally, how they can approach friends who they are worried about and things they can do to try and maintain good emotional health.
”An alternative version of the resource has also been developed for professionals working with young people to help them identify signs that might indicate a young person is in distress and how they can direct them to help and support. Both resources can be downloaded from the Samaritans’ website www.samaritans.org/emotionalhealth