The nail biting wait for exam results is almost over - with A Level results due 15 August in England and Wales and GSCEs grades announced 22 August.
As nerves start to fray, Samaritans is asking those receiving their marks, and those that care for them, to put wellbeing ahead of grades and ask for help if they’re struggling.
Natasha Devon MBE, mental health campaigner who represents the interests of teenagers and teachers said:
Increasingly, exam stress is cited as the biggest negative influence on the mental health of the young people I work with. It’s not just the exams themselves, but the way the rest of the academic year ‘points’ at them, building the pressure bit by bit. Of course, I’m not going to deny that results are important, but exams and grades only measure a very specific sort of intelligence. A grade doesn’t say everything about you and what you have to offer the world. Results don’t give the bigger picture on someone who is developing into an adult - education helps open the mind and shapes us but it’s not the final full stop.
Samaritans is reminding students and parents alike, they are there to offer support for anyone, including those who are anxious or those who don’t get the results they were aiming for.
James Downs, from Wales, is studying a Masters in Psychology and Education at Cambridge University. James, who has suffered from both anorexia and bulimia for over ten years and has used Samaritans for support, knows how the pressures of life can build up.
Working out next steps and preparing to move onto the next stage in life can be nerve-wracking. I’ve done countless exams and it never gets any easier receiving the results, but what I’ve learnt along the way, is that exam results don’t define you.
Samaritans volunteers are available around the clock, seven days a week providing emotional support and a listening ear to anyone who needs help. James was inspired to become a Samaritans volunteer after using the service and believes the non-judgemental approach can help thousands of others in similar situations.
“Don’t sweat it on your own – having someone there to listen who is not going to judge you can make the world of difference. That’s why I’d encourage anyone feeling anxious and worried to get in touch with Samaritans. It’s a free and confidential service that available 24 hours a day. We won’t judge or tell you what to do and you can talk to us about whatever is on your mind.
Last year, Samaritans volunteers spent over one million hours providing emotional support to people who needed help.
Anyone can contact Samaritans FREE any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit. This number won’t show up on your phone bill.