Childline seeing surge in counselling sessions over exam anxiety
This week has seen the return of GCSE’s and A Levels in Wales after two years of disruption due to the pandemic.
For many children, their parents and carers, the exam period can be an anxious and stressful time.
There has been a surge in the number of counselling sessions over exam anxiety, new figures from Childline show.
The charity has said that between April 2021 and March 2022, its practitioners delivered 1,734 counselling sessions to children and young people across Wales and the rest of the UK with concerns about exam stress and revision, which is a 62% rise on the previous year.
When talking to Childline counsellors about their upcoming exams, children shared that their worries were affecting their mental health, anxiety levels and ability to sleep.
Darren Worth Head of NSPCC Childline Services in Prestatyn said: “It is important for young people to know that they aren’t alone if they are feeling like this. Instead, they are encouraged to share any concerns or worries with their friends or a trusted adult.”
“Parents and carers can help by reassuring their child that they are there to listen to what they might be feeling. They can also help them take the time to think about what to do next.”
Darren said: “Exams can feel like a lot of pressure. You might need certain grades for a course or job. Or your parents, carers or teachers might be putting pressure on you. You might be putting lots of pressure on yourself as well.”
Childline has said that no matter where the pressure is coming from, there are ways to help you cope, here is their advice:
- Think positively
When we feel anxious, we can start thinking things like ‘I can’t do this’ and ‘I’m going to fail’. It can be difficult, but try to replace these with positive thoughts such as: ‘this is just anxiety, it can’t harm me’ and, ‘relax, concentrate – it’s going to be okay’.
- Be honest about how you feel
Sometimes people can put pressure on you without even realising and sometimes it can help to talk about how it makes you feel. Talking about things can help you to think about other ways they can support you in the future. If you’re worried about telling someone, you can always talk to us.
- Don’t compare yourself to your friends
Competing with your friends can help to keep you motivated. But it can also make you feel like you’re not good enough, especially on social media. Try keeping a list of the revision you’ve done so you can see how much you’re achieving.
- Let your stress out
Try using our Art box or the Mood Journal in your locker to describe how the pressure makes you feel. Or write a letter to someone you trust saying what’s happening.
There are lots of places where young people can get support, including the Childline website where they can get more advice on dealing with exam stress.
- Childline is tere for every child and young person and our specially trained counsellors are also ready 24/7 to discuss exam worries and other concerns free on 0800 1111 or www.childline.org.uk
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