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Mental health help available for NCEA students

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Some students receiving their NCEA results may be experiencing mental distress. Anxiety about the future and feelings of low self-worth may be more widespread than usual, given the COVID-related disruption to students’ study in 2020.

The Lowdown is a support service that helps young New Zealanders with feelings of stress and anxiety. It is part of the Government’s National Depression Initiative. Service users can contact trained support workers via text, email, webchat and phone. The service is free and available 24/7 for all young New Zealanders.

Consultant Psychiatrist for The Lowdown, Dr Siale Foliaki, says one of the best things young people can do is talk about their feelings.

"We anticipate that more young people than usual may be experiencing high levels of anxiety after receiving their NCEA their results, given the ongoing impact of COVID-19. Many students struggled with home-schooling during New Zealand’s two lockdown periods in 2020. The virus’s impact on certain employment sectors and on international opportunities for students can be crushing.

"Ambivalence, low mood and confusion are normal responses to hopes and dreams that have to be put on hold, or aspirations pivoted. This is especially the case in situations where students feel they have not lived up to parental or family expectations. Sometimes these emotions can lead to depression or anxiety."

National Telehealth Service’s Mental Health and Addictions Service Delivery Manager, Dylan Norton, says the team have seen an increase in demand from young people calling for help in 2020.

"Some of the students contacting us with mental health distress were living with whanau who had lost jobs. Others were experiencing difficulties due to a break down in family relationships. It’s hard for students to concentrate on their work with their mental health is suffering.

"A support person can help students unpack these feelings and put their fears into perspective. It’s important for young people to know that they aren’t alone," says Mr Norton.

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