Collette Ryan, HeadsUp Project Manager, says, “In the days leading up to the publication of results, students can become quite anxious but it is important that they and their families remember that the Leaving Certificate is only one avenue to further education or employment. For many, results day is a wonderful celebration. For others, however, it is an occasion to take some time out and perhaps reconsider their next steps. We would encourage those students who may be disappointed with their results to talk it out and avail of the supports available from HeadsUp as well as other organisations in determining their future options.”
HeadsUp is urging all students to look after their mental health and well-being before and after receiving their exam results with the help of the online HeadsUp ‘Leaving Cert Corner’. Available on the HeadsUp website – www.headsup.ie – it offers helpful advice and tips on how to manage anxiety and stress in the lead-up to the results, including:
- Looking after oneself and putting time aside for relaxation, e.g. listening to one’s favourite music or taking a long soak in a bubble bath
- Undertaking exercise – going for a walk or run releases endorphins, helping us to feel better about ourselves and the challenges we face
- Expressing our feelings – talking to others if we are feeling overwhelmed, or if we don’t want to do that, expressing ourselves in other ways, e.g. keeping a diary or creating art
- Realising our expectations and addressing the unrealistic expectations of others can offer huge relief
- Consulting a GP if the stress of it all is impacting negatively on our daily life and activities
Mark Roche, age 22 and from Co. Tipperary, completed his Leaving Certificate in two consecutive years, in both 2008 and 2009. Looking back on results time he recalls “Stress detracts from productivity. If you do not receive the results you were hoping for, please do not be too downtrodden. There are options available to everyone. If you truly want to further your education, the passion you have for a future will help you to persevere. Never think less of yourself for not getting there first; just be safe in the knowledge that you did it your way and, in the end, it was worth it.”
Amy Rossiter, age 20 and from Co. Wexford, completed her Leaving Certificate in 2010. “Looking back now I wish I hadn’t stressed out so much; stress made me break out in spots – not great for the debs! My results and college offers didn't go exactly to plan but I wouldn't change it for the world. I really believed it worked out for the best, plus the sooner you learn to deal with life’s upsets the better! Best of luck to anybody receiving results shortly. If it's any help - nobody even speaks of Leaving Cert results a couple of months after you get them! There is life after the Leaving Cert, and the results, and it’s a good one.”
Along with the online supports available, HeadsUp Text provides a 24-hour service which is free of charge and which provides details of a range of support services to students nationwide. By texting the word HEADSUP to 50424, the texter will receive a text reply with a list of different categories including student services, mental health and crisis. The texter then replies with the category that they require information on, and a list of available helpline numbers, along with their opening hours, is sent back. The service was put in place so that young people know where to go to get help and advice on problems before they become bigger. The service is 100 per cent confidential so nobody will know that they have used the service.
HeadsUp.ie has been developed with the direction of a panel of youth advisors who steer the direction and content of the project and who ensure that it meets the needs of its target group of 15 to 24-years-olds.
For further information on all HeadsUp support services log onto www.headsup.ie