Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Mental Health James Browne has encouraged students to talk about the pressures they are feeling as they prepare to sit the Leaving and Junior Certificate examinations.

The State examinations will commence next Wednesday.

Deputy Browne said, “The State examinations can be stressful time for students. It’s important that young people talk about the pressure that they are feeling at this time. Just talking about it alone can help relieve the pressure enormously. It’s also important that young people talk about the State examinations with people who have already been through it. This can help provide a different perspective and a realisation that there are many different pathways to achieving the end goal.

“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.