Tuesday 24 October 2017

Helpline launched for 55,000 ahead of Leaving Cert results

Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

A national helpline has been set up for more than 55,000 teenagers due to get their Leaving Certificate results on Wednesday.

Experienced guidance counsellors will man the dedicated phoneline to offer advice and support on third-level courses, apprenticeships, rechecks and repeating exams.

Thousands of anxious pupils are expected to call the Exam Helpline on 1800 265 165 from 8am on Wednesday.

The Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) said the helpline - run by National Parents Council Post Primary - will provide an important service for students who have taken the exam at a critical time.

Bernie Ruane, TUI president, said: "Positions such as year head have not been filled in many schools for over two years now, so the pastoral care and guidance that students would previously have received in the run up to the state examinations would have been greatly diminished in many cases."

HeadsUp, Rehab's mental health promotion project, wants young people to realise there is life after the State exams.

Collette Ryan, Rehab project manager for HeadsUp, said: "Results time can be very stressful for young people as it is a day of mixed emotions.

"Many feel powerless as there is nothing that they can do now to change their results. We want students to know that help is out there if things are getting on top of them."

A range of tips on how to cope are on the Exams Corner section of HeadsUp.ie with test support available by texting the word HEADSUP to 50424.

Since its launch in 2007, the text service has received 63,147 messages with 18,329 people using the service - with the number doubling at results time last year.

Ms Ryan said: "Results day itself can be highly emotional, with happiness for some and disappointment for others.

"Many students put a lot of pressure on themselves to achieve certain grades, but if students don't get the points for their first choice, there are other ways to get into their chosen career."

Elsewhere drinkaware.ie has published a Leaving Cert (and beyond!) Survival Guide and urged students to end the summer on a high note and celebrate responsibly.

Revellers are also warned to hold on to their drinks to make sure they are not spiked, to watch out for friends and stay in groups, and never to accept a lift from a drunk driver.

Fionnuala Sheehan, chief executive, said: "Whether you're celebrating or commiserating, drinking to excess won't help you to enjoy your night any more.

"Remember, it's important to pace yourself and have a glass of water or a soft drink in between alcoholic drinks.

"This will help stop you from getting dehydrated, and give your body a chance to process any alcohol you've already had."

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