The Samaritans have called for parents, teachers, students and employers to put well-being ahead of grades this exam season.
The call comes as Mental Health Awareness Week kicks off which focuses on coping with stress.
Karen Harvey, who heads up Samaritans work in educations, said: Naturally, every parent, teacher and employer puts a value on good grades, and students put themselves under pressure to achieve.
“We would urge anyone involved in exams and supporting young people with their studies, to ensure students look after their emotional health.
“That way they are likely to cope better with the stress of exams, and achieve better too. Whatever stage you’re at in life, exams or not everything.”
The number of UK students taking their own life has now overtaken the suicide rate of young people in the general population.
Experts say that universities need more support around mental health.
Chloe Ward is a Technician at Smart TMS, a company that specialises in Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, a procedure where pulses of magnetic energy are used to stimulate areas of the brain known to contribute to depression and other psychiatric conditions.
She thinks that universities need to do more to help students: “There is a stigma around mental health still within academic and work settings that sufferers do not speak out when they have problems.
What is TMS?
“I think through advertising, support groups and awareness in universities we can try and tackle mental health issues within universities and let individuals know there are places they can go at whatever time of the day for support and they aren’t going through their battle alone.”
Chloe says that other parts of ‘uni life’ can contribute to poor mental health and thinks the first step is accepting help: “The first step in getting help is accepting you need help, then you can search for the right person to help if this is outside of your social circle, never be afraid to ask for help.”
Chloe’s tips for students
- Take regular breaks between studying, around 20 minutes long
- Schedule things to look forward to
- Make sure you go outdoors regularly
- Don’t compare your work to friends or classmates – just do your best
- Exams aren’t the be all and end all – there are always chances to re-sit
- Set realistic goals in terms of studying
- Speak to someone if you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed
The Samaritans don’t just offer support to those feeling suicidal though, they also provide emotional support for anyone feeling distressed.
Call for free: 116 123 This number will not show up on their phone bill.
Find a local branch: www.samaritans.org