Handling exam stress

2011-09-19 00:00

COUNSELLING groups are advising matric pupils not to bottle up feelings of stress and anxiety brought on by trial exams and the end-of-the-year exams.

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) has advised parents to ensure their children are in a healthy mental space at this time.

Sadag operations director Cassey Chambers said matric pupils should not be hard on themselves and should talk to someone if they are not coping.

“The reason that matric pupils get stressed at this time is that they start thinking about all the work they have been doing throughout the year. They write the trial exams and they worry about the marks they get because these marks get them into universities.

“They think about the high expectations that their parents have for them, which can get too much.

“That anxiety starts to show and some children get depressed, suffer from insomnia or start getting ‘flu-like symptoms. These are all the feelings that can lead to children getting suicidal. If everything starts to get overwhelming it is important to pick up the phone and talk to someone,” said Chambers.

Sadag pamphlets offer self help-tips about how to handle exam stress and advice from Gauteng-based educational psychologist and former school counsellor Ken Resnick.

LifeLine offers a 24-hour crisis counselling service at telephone 086 132 2332.

The organisation’s clinical manager, Lorraine Mitchell, said they also have an online support group and are hoping to expand the programme on to Mxit.

“We have a support group on our website, which is run by our Pietermaritzburg centre, for grade 12 pupils who need to talk.

“We are also working with the Education Department to prevent suicides.”

She advised parents to monitor their children to ensure that they are coping.

“Children might exhibit signs of irritation and other anxiety symptoms and it is important for them to know how to deal with them.

“We want to have a Mxit chatroom where pupils can log on and chat to counsellors at any time, making it easier for them to get the help they need.”

Sadag’s toll-free helpline number for parents or students who need counselling is 0800 567 567.

For more information visit www.sadag.org or www.

lifeline.org.za.

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