Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Mental Health James Browne TD has encouraged students to avail of support services as the Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate examinations approach.

The State examinations will commence next Wednesday. Up to 120,000 students are expected to sit the exams over the next three weeks.

Deputy Browne said, “Having talked with parents and students, I am acutely aware of the toll that the Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate can have on young people. These exams have a profound impact on students health and some can feel overwhelmed by the experience.

“It’s important to recognise the emotional strain on student’s mental health in the run up to the examinations. I encourage students to talk with their parents, friends and teachers if they feel overwhelmed by the exams. It’s particularly important that schools highlight the availability of support services over the examination period.

“Young people need encouragement as they sit through these exams. Even if exams do not lead to instant success, there are always other means to pursue interests in life. The Leaving Certificate in particular is not the be all and end all that many young people think it is. There are a range of options to pursue further education and third level education has never been more accessible.

“It’s important that young people know that, while exams are important, they do not define who you are. There are alternative pathways to any chosen career. This is the message that needs to be delivered to students in the weeks ahead,” concluded Deputy Browne.