Childline has reported a sharp rise in the number of 16-18-year-olds getting in touch because they were worried about their exam results.
Figures released today (Wednesday August 16), showed the service's counsellors dealt with 1,133 exam-related calls in 2016/17 - a rise of 68 per cent in the past two years.
With A-level results due out tomorrow, and GCSE results a week later, Childline has issued the following advice for young people:
· Don’t panic if you don't get the results you were hoping for.
· You may have to make some tough decisions but remember you always have options and you can get help.
· Everyone is different, so try not to compare your results to your friends or classmates.
· If you're disappointed with your results it can help to talk to a teacher or someone you trust about how you’re feeling.
A spokesman for Childline, which is provided by the NSPCC, said many youngsters told counsellors they were disappointed with themselves and worried their grades might affect their chances of getting into the university or college of their choice.
Others were concerned about their parent’s reaction to their results.
Anxiety and low mood were also mentioned when discussing exam results, with some saying they were struggling to cope with the pressure to do well and achieve top grades.
One girl said: “I am so worried about my exam results that I feel sick. I studied all day and overnight for them. If I don’t get all As I’ll feel like I’ve let everyone down and my parents will be disappointed. I want to make them proud.”
A boy told counsellors: “I failed one of my exams and I’m so upset. I passed all of the rest but my parents are still really disappointed and have made me feel stupid and like a failure.
"I don’t know what to do now. I know I should be pleased with myself but I don’t. I’ve always had low self-esteem and this hasn’t helped.”
Parents and carers were given the following advice by the NSPCC:
· Try not to place pressure on your children to gain certain grades.
· Your child may find it hard to talk to you about their results so be patient and supportive until they feel ready to open up about how they feel.
· Encourage your child to take their time to think about what they want to do next. There’s no need to rush into a decision straightaway.
Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, said: “Waiting for exam results can be an anxious time for young people and can leave some struggling to cope.
"Pressure to achieve good grades and worries about securing further education places and jobs can be too much for some teenagers to deal with on their own.
“We’d encourage young people not to be disheartened if they don’t get the results they hoped for. It’s important they remember that they have options and that talking to a friend or trusted adult can really help them see this clearly.
"Childline is also here 24/7 to listen to any young person worried about their results and needing confidential support and advice.”
Dame Esther Rantzen, founder and president of Childline, added: “Young people need to remember that getting good exam grades is not a make or break moment and, whatever your results, there are options and opportunities to make a great future for yourself.
"This is proved by all the successful people who have made their way in life despite being nowhere near the top of their class.
“The important thing during exam results season is to stick together as a family and be as supportive and encouraging to the person waiting to receive their grades and then planning their next steps.
"And if they are reluctant to open up about how they are feeling or what they want to do then Childline is always ready to provide help and advice.”
Children and young people can contact Childline for free, confidential support and advice, 24 hours a day on 0800 1111 or at www.childline.org.uk
A series of videos dedicated to helping young people through exams and life after school are available on Childline’s YouTube channel.
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