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  1. ITV Report

Exam stress leading thousands of youngsters to charity for help

Credit: PA Images

Thousands of young people are turning to Childline for help as they struggle to cope with the "crippling" pressure of exam stress.

New figures from the NSPCC reveal that 3,135 counselling sessions have been given on exam stress in the last year, a rise of 11% over the past two years.

More than 20% of these took place last May as pupils faced upcoming exams, with many telling counsellors they were struggling with subjects, excessive workloads and feeling unprepared.

Most likely to be counselled were 12 to 15-year-olds, but the biggest rise was amongst 16 to 18-year-olds of 21% since 2015/16.

Every year we hear from thousands of children who are struggling to cope with the pressure to succeed in exams.

For some this can feel so insurmountable that it causes crippling anxiety and stress and in some cases contributes to mental health issues or even suicidal thoughts and feelings.

– Peter Wanless, Chief Executive of the NSPCC
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According to the NSPCC, young people are consistently saying exam stress is adding to depression, anxiety, panic attacks, excessive crying, low self-esteem, self-harming and suicidal thoughts.

One teenager contacted Childline about his GCSEs saying "My parents don't allow me to do anything else apart from revision and if I try and talk to them it always ends up in an argument."

Dame Esther Rantzen, founder of Childline, says teachers and parents need to "recognise how stressful exams can be" and "reassure and support" young people.

You can read the NSPCC's advice here: