Parents encouraged to support young people during exam stress

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As exams get under way, parents and guardians are being encouraged by the Public Health Agency (PHA) to support their children’s emotional wellbeing.

A certain level of stress is entirely normal and can be beneficial and motivating. However some students can feel particularly pressured to achieve good results and this can have a significant impact on how they feel.

Madeline Heaney, Regional Lead for Mental and Emotional Wellbeing with the PHA, said: “The pressure to do well in exams can be very stressful for young people.

“I urge parents to look out for behaviour or feelings that could indicate that your child is showing signs of stress or problems and let them know that you are there for support.”

Madeline said that simple measures can reduce stress around exam time for young people.

“We are encouraging young people not to allow things to get on top of them and to take time away from the books to clear their heads and relax if they are feeling under pressure.”

Top tips for parents

• Ensure that your child knows that you are available, making time for them and giving them support;

• Encourage them to keep in contact with friends and to do the things they enjoy;

• Remind them to take short breaks away from books or the computer and to get some fresh air or physical exercise, preferably with another person;

• Reassure your child that there are always other options and ways to move forward, regardless of results;

• Let them know that they are valued, whatever the exam results.

More information on looking after your mental health and the support available across Northern Ireland can be found at