Many other options on offer

While the Leaving Certificate results can seem like the be all and end all, in reality there are so many other options for your future, according to mental health promoter HeadsUp.

The services from different organisations have been set up to help students cope with the pressure of results day, including HeadsUp’s Leaving Cert Corner, available on their website.

“For many, results day is a wonderful celebration. For others, however, it is an occasion to take some time out and perhaps reconsider their next steps,” said project manager Collette Ryan.

“We would encourage those students who may be disappointed with their results to talk it out and avail of the supports available from HeadsUp as well as other organisations in determining their future options.”

Students are advised to put time aside to think about results, to exercise, and to talk to others about how they are feeling.

The National Parents’ Council (NPC) also has a freephone helpline for students, which is manned by the Institute of Guidance Counsellors. The helpline, 1800 265165, will be open from today until next Wednesday from 8am until 7pm, apart from Friday and the following Wednesday, when it stays open from 8am until 2pm.

Last year, 2,500 students called the helpline, with just as many expected to call this week. NPC’s Jackie O’Callaghan said the service is a help for those who are disappointed with results.

“What is important is that there is someone at the end of the line. They are people who are working in schools, and are up to speed with options you have, even if you do not get the points you want,” she said.

Inspiration can also be drawn from successful figures such as Katie Taylor and the teenager born without limbs, Joanne O’Riordan, who recently gave the keynote speech to the UN’s International Telecommunication Union, according to the Irish Vocational Education Association (IVEA).

“Both of these young people have made the most of their talents and, in doing so, have overcome very serious challenges,” IVEA general secretary Michael Moriarty said. “It is not, as some would have us believe, a make-or-break event. It is but a very early game in the long league of life and, whether young people are happy or unhappy with today’s results, they will neither make nor break their lives.”

A helpline has also been set up by the Cork Youth Information Centre (CIY). Students and parents can phone 021 4270187 from 10am to 5pm daily. CIY also has a guide for school leavers, Options 2012, which is available from its office on Marlboro St.

Students are also encouraged to free text HeadsUp to 50424 to receive information on a range of mental health services.

* NPC helpline: 1800 165265; Cork Youth Information Centre helpline: 021 4270187

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