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Exam stress tackled as new campaign launches

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Support available ahead of this year's exams

Leading figures from politics, music and civil society have joined to raise awareness about exam stress.

SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) has launched its Testing Times campaign backed by X-Factor star Nicholas McDonald, Clare Haughey MSP and representatives from the Girl Guides, Scouts Scotland and Scottish Youth Parliament.

The mental health charity is also piloting a programme of activity in schools, colleges and with specialist mental health teams - all aiming to help young people and the adults in their lives.

Each of the campaign’s supporters will share videos on social media highlighting their own personal experiences of anxiety, with the aim of encouraging young people to discuss their emotional wellbeing openly, both with their peers and adults in their lives.

Billy Watson, SAMH chief executive, said: “We want 2019 to be a year of action so young people get help as soon as they need it. We’re delighted to be piloting our new programmes, thanks to the generous donations of our fundraisers and supporters.

“While we have been encouraged by recent commitments from the Scottish Government on mental health, there is still plenty of work to do to ensure that young people feel able to discuss and manage their mental health and wellbeing. Testing Times is aimed at raising that awareness and hopefully equipping more young people facing the stresses of exam time with the tools to manage those anxieties.”

Pam Steel, education development officer at SAMH, is on secondment from Wallace High School in Stirling, where she works as a PE and dance teacher, and led the development of a whole-school approach to mental health.

She said: “It’s that time of year again when students across Scotland are busy preparing for school exams. Typically, there is a huge amount of pressure on young people to succeed, pressure they either put on themselves or from family and friends.”