CHESTER Samaritans are offering tips for students and their parents to help them get through the stressful exam period.
Panic, anxiety, fear about the future, guilt or despair are just some of the feelings students might be going through, according to the Upper Northgate Street branch of the charity.
Spokeswoman Mollie McBride said: 'Anyone coping with this stressful time needs a great deal of emotional support, but asking for help is not always easy. Without anyone to confide in, stress, anxiety and fear can become unbearable.
'High expectations from parents, teachers or friends can push students to the brink, particularly when they feel their results don't meet those expectations. Learning how to recognise when they're under stress is one of the first steps towards dealing with it.'
Signs of exam stress can include: lack of sleep, loss of appetite or irregular eating, panic attacks, difficulty breathing, tight, knotty feelings in your stomach, low energy, lack of concentration and loss of interest in things around you.
Parents are advised the best thing by far is simply to listen - to allow and encourage children to express their worries.
'Don't feel you have to offer advice or guidance - what they most need, and what will be of most help, is simply space - to talk, to cry, or simply to sit quietly and be,' Mollie added. The Samaritans can be called 24 hours a day at the Chester branch on 01244 377999 or national number 08457 90 90 90 to talk through stress, depression or anxiety, in total confidence.
People can also text on 07725 90 90 90 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Samaritans say encour-aging someone in distress to phone or e-mail Samaritans will help them take their first step.