Help ease that exam result stress

Family and friends of young people receiving important exam results can help relieve the associated anxiety of what is inside the envelope by offering a listening ear to those feeling stressed.

Thousands of young people across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire are receiving their A-level results this week, with Year 11 children also due to find out how they did in their GCSEs later in the month.

The exam results season can be a worrying time for many, especially when coupled with the prospect of going to university or college, or seeking full-time employment for the first time.

However, local clinicians are reminding family and friends of anyone receiving academic grades over the coming weeks that simple interventions, such as a one-to-one chat, can really help to relieve anxieties.

Gill May, Chief Nurse, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said: “Mental health is every bit as important as physical health, and it can really take a hit at this time of year.

“While there are, of course, lots of fantastic resources available to help those feeling stressed or under pressure, family and friends have the power to offer unrivaled support by simply asking a young person how they are feeling.

“The last few years have shown us the immense power that human contact has, and how even the smallest interactions can completely lift a person’s mood and improve their mental health.

“As a parent, I know just how tricky exam result season can be, but, as a clinician, I know that stress, anxiety and worry can be eased massively through something as simple as a conversation or a walk in the fresh air.”

Tailored mental health support for both young people and their parents can be found via the Young Minds website.

The site offers bespoke information on a range of topics including different types of mental health conditions, the symptoms to look out for, how to be there for someone who is feeling stressed or anxious and where to go for additional support.

Conversations around possible next steps following school or college, especially if a young person’s planned first choice route is no longer available, can also help to relieve worry and tension.

Detailed information on what do after receiving exam results is available from a number of sources, including the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), Childline and the government’s National Careers Service.

The Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board website has an up-to-date directory of all local mental health services, including those which offer help over the phone or in-person without the need for an appointment.

Find out more by visiting http://www.bsw.icb.nhs.uk.