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Dublin: 1°C Thursday 20 January 2022

Students advised to take care of mental health over exam period

Students undertaking Junior and Leaving Cert exams have been reminded to talk about any stress they might be feeling, eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep over the next two weeks.

Image: PA

JUNIOR AND LEAVING Cert students have been reminded to take care of their mental health over the exam period, following a recent nationwide survey which revealed that just 6 per cent people aged under 24 would seek professional help for personal problems.

A further 7 per cent of those aged under 24 said that they would tell no one at all about their problems, according to the Behaviour & Attitudes survey carried out on behalf of the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP).

Exam pressure is reported to be “one of the main causes of anxiety among young people in Ireland,” according Shane Kelly, counsellor and Professional Services Manager at IACP. “It’s important for Junior and Leaving certificate students to stay calm and think positively,” he said. “Parents need to help young students to develop the necessary skills to deal with the pressures of exams and talk to them about their fears or uncertainty about the future.”

Kelly offered some tips to students undertaking exams:

  • If you’re feeling under pressure about exams talk to somebody such as a friend, family member, teacher, doctor or counsellor
  • Keep things in perspective – exam grades are not a measure of your true self worth
  • Set yourself realistic goals for the results you can achieve
  • Eat a well balanced diet – healthy eating improves memory and concentration
  • Exercise is a good stress reliever, which can help you think more clearly
  • Try to get at least 8 hours sleep and relax for at least an hour before bed the night before each exam

Earlier today, President Michael D Higgins wished exams students good luck – and also reminded them to seek support if they began to feel overwhelmed:

“I would like to send my very best wishes to all of those who are starting exams tomorrow and who will sit examinations this year. I would like to advise anyone taking exams and feeling under pressure not to hesitate to seek whatever support they can get from parents, family and friends. Once again my very best wishes to all and of course, good luck.”

Read: Good luck! Leaving and Junior Cert students begin exams this morning

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