[updated 19th August 2020 to reflect the grading changes]
It's that time of year... heatwaves and school grades.
But this year's GCSE's and A-Level students will no doubt encounter far more upheaval and change than any year previous. Not only have they had their crucial study year disrupted by a global pandemic but then the grading system affected many with its updated algorithm, which seems to have had country-wide negative effects on our young people. With the grades changing merely days later, some damage was already done with university decisions already having been made and alternative life choice being chosen.
So how do the graduates and their parents deal with such unforseen events and the impact on mental health?
Coping with teenage years and the change that come with it, can be tough enough. Colleagues at Lancashire Mind who work closely with high-school pupils already witness the everyday experiences that challenge young people's mindset, confidence and resilience.
Paula, who has worked as a Community Development Worker for the Whole School Approach Project, which involves mental health interventions with pupils, staff and parents in Lancashire secondary schools, tells us:
''I think, like a lot of the parents around Lancashire today, I'm worried for the students, who, after six months of turmoil, have now had a further wave of disruption to their lives. Working in the schools I see the pressures, the stress and the overall daily weight that lies on the shoulders of young people today. It is far beyond what I ever had when I was at school.
''Conversations about CV's and 'options' start so much earlier, social media trolling now exists, as does cyber bullying, technology draining their energy and year-on-year rises in self-harm and discrimination, all of this can often be enough to effect anyone's sense of wellbeing, and now you add Coronavirus and these differing grades, if we do not support our young people, it will no doubt be far too much for them to deal with alone.''
The Wellbeing Solution Exists
But just like any issues we face, coming together as a community can help us look after the young people who need us the most. Encouraging students to share how they are feeling and signposting them to the correct support is fundamental to getting them through these changes.
Lancashire Mind adopt a scientific-proven system called the 'Five Ways to Wellbeing' and they are techniques that are designed to tailor themselves into anyone's daily life.
We have come up with ten top tips to help a young person get through this time of change and transition.
Watch the video below.
We encourage you to pause when you need to and to take notes.
We have a web page dedicated to supporting young people during the pandemic. Click on the button below to be taken to resources such as:
✅ How to Cope with Change Video
✅ 5 Steps to Calm
✅ Circles of Worry
✅ Looking Ahead Workbook
Resources, services and organisations are out there to help any young person who feels that they are unable to mentally cope and we have included just some of them below.
These are other fantastic support services that can help guide young people through this experience.