Today is when young people across the UK get their A level examination results.
For some, expectations will be realised and their future plans ready to execute.
However, for other students, their examination results may make them feel they’ve under achieved, resulting in a kaleidoscope of emotions including anxiety, depression and worthlessness.
It is the responsibility of us all to support students through what is naturally a highly emotional and challenging time of life. We must encourage open discourse, discussing other options available and congratulating them on what they have managed to achieve., pointing out the positives and the opportunities these may present.
Of course, this doesn’t mean we ignore or sweep aside their disappointment as these feelings must be discussed too. Just like open wounds, it’s important to treat, allow time to heal and move forwards.
Prime Minister Theresa May realises the importance of mental wellbeing support for students during exam results time and today’s Daily Telegraph online reports Mrs May as saying
“Mental health issues can have a devastating effect on young lives and that’s why making sure young people are fully supported both inside and outside of the classroom is a key priority for me.
“It is not only the pressures of school and exams, though that is in the front of our minds today, but also self-esteem issues, struggles with home life or friendships, and getting into university or finding a job that can all affect mental wellbeing. (Daily Telegraph)”
This is all encouraging to read. But, we absolutely must educate youngsters from a very early age in humanity, empathy, self esteem and self worth, providing them with the psychological tools required when confronted with challenging and new obstacles during life.
So much pressure is on young people today to achieve, to attain a perfectionism that simply does not exist. Unrealistic expectations of themselves could possibly be thwarted as long as psychological education is started early enough, ideally at primary school.
In our experience, A level students hit with emotional meltdown today will have prior mental wellbeing issues, whether it be self doubt and dislike about themselves or bipolar/depression. That these feelings are manifest at stressful times does not mean that were not already in existence.
If you’re a student who is about to receive, or has received, your examination results and need emotional support, please speak to someone – a friend, your parents, a tutor. Make sure you let people know how you are feeling and the concerns that you have. Do not be afraid to speak up and ask for help.
The Samaritans offer a great one to one phone service which is completely anonymous and free. Alternatively, your GP or other support charity should be able to assist you.
If you’d like to speak with SOS, then please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org in confidence.