Mental health platform helps students facing exam results during pandemic

The UK digital mental health support platform Kooth has joined with five of the UK’s well known Instagram influencers to launch a campaign to help students deal with the pressures of exam results season.

The campaign encourages the hundreds of thousands of students waiting to receive their exam results, to stay mentally strong and know they have access to support, if needed.

Kooth has launched the campaign called #PositiveFutures, which will last from 10th to 20th August ahead of an exam results fortnight made more stressful because of the pandemic.

To help get this vital message across, Kooth have partnered with five social media stars: BBC Radio 1Xtra Talks host Reece Parkinson, sustainable living ethical fashion blogger Mikaela Loach currently studying medicine at Edinburgh University, model and soon to be student Louis Hopgood (@louishopgood_), freelance writer and LGBTQ+ Activist Ben Pechey (benpechey) and West End performer Grace Mouat.

The five influencers will be sharing their mental health stories, personal experiences and tips for surviving and thriving during this stressful period.

Recent data from Kooth has shown that young people are already experiencing rising levels of anxiety and stress.

Levels of presenting problems linked to ‘school/college issues’ rose by 246.4%  and levels of anxiety and stress have increased by 53% compared to the previous year.

As most exams have been cancelled marks this year are awarded against expected outcomes with grades being standardised by exam boards and Ofqual, the exams regulator.

But there are concerns the system won’t take into account rapid improvement made this year and fears that the proposed system to grade A-levels and GCSEs could disadvantage BAME students and those from poorer backgrounds.

There has already been controversy in Scotland, where thousands of school pupils received worse than expected results after the country’s exam body lowered 125,000 estimated grades after exams were cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority worked out National exam results using estimates made by teachers, based on the pupil’s performance over the last school year.

The BBC reported that SQA figures showed that pupils from the most deprived backgrounds saw grades reduced by 15.2 percentage points, compared to only 6. 9 percentage points from the wealthiest pupils.

A “deluge” of appeals is expected amid accusations that the SQA had been tougher on those from deprived backgrounds, although the SQA said its moderation process ensured “fairness to all learners.”

Loach said in the Instagram campaign: “You are not defined by any result that you get.”

“Everything will be fine, I promise you,” Pechey added in the campaign.

Kooth, accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and commissioned by the NHS, is available to over five million children and young people from 11-25 years of age.

It is commissioned in 85% of the NHS’s clinical commissioning group areas across the country and has a fully safeguarded and pre-moderated community with a library of peer and professional created content, alongside access to experienced online counsellors.

 

 

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