Exam stress in teenagers - suicide prevention with Samaritans

Parents, don’t panic about exam stress, says Samaritans

In light of a report released yesterday about suicide in children and young people, citing exams as one of the five main reasons teenagers take their own lives, Samaritans is asking parents not to panic about exam stress, but look at it within context of everything that’s happening in their child’s life. 

The charity advises parents and carers to make sure young people are taking time to look after themselves, as they support them through the revision, exams and results process.

“Samaritans acknowledges that it is totally normal for young people to be nervous and anxious around exam time, and some stress can heighten performance, but if you are worried about your teenager feeling overwhelmed, communication is key,” said Jacqui Morrissey, Samaritans Head of External Affairs.

“The death of children and young people by suicide is a devastating tragedy and one that must be prevented.  While Samaritans welcomes this report as a wake-up call to take young people’s emotional wellbeing seriously, it is really important to recognise that suicide is usually a result of a combination of different stressors and factors.”

Samaritans wants to make sure that the right support is in place for all young people and that all parents, carers and teachers understand about suicide risk. We want to make sure that young people are equipped to look after their emotional wellbeing before life’s pressures become overwhelming.

“We are saying to parents, talk to your teenagers, make sure that they have someone to talk to about the way they are feeling. We should all look out for each other’s emotional wellbeing. If you’re concerned about a friend or family member, start a conversation and ask how they are. Point them in the direction of their GP and Samaritans,” Jacqui said.

Becky Rayner, 25, whose sister Lucy took her own life in 2012, said: “It is so important for young people to know it’s okay to talk about suicidal feelings. My sister Lucy had said she felt suicidal, there needs to be more awareness of how to support a young person in that situation, and what help is out there.

“Young people’s mental health needs to be taken seriously, young people need to be encouraged to express their feelings and to know it is okay.”

For further information, and interview requests, please contact press@samaritans.org or 020 8394 8300

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Notes to editors

  • Anyone can contact Samaritans, you don’t have to be suicidal. Whatever you’re going through, call us free any time from any phone on 116 123 (this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch.
  • It’s the public’s kind donations and 21,000 trained volunteers that mean Samaritans is always there for anyone struggling to cope.  Find out how you can support us: http://www.samaritans.org/support-us
  • To find out more about Samaritans’ work in schools, visit Samaritans’ DEAL webpage http://bit.ly/1LkCjJv
  • For information on today’s report Suicide by children and young people in England, a report by the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Health Issues (May 2016) contact media.relations@manchester.ac.uk