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Big spike in conversations with anxious pupils expected before both A level and GCSE results day announcements

@GiveUsAShout – Shout 85258 reveals that more than half of exam age texters contacting the support service don’t feel they can talk to anyone else 

Shout 85258 launches videos and tips for pupils to cope, and for parents to support their children, as GCSE and A level results are released

A third of texters to Shout 85258 are children and young people, who are turning to the free, confidential text message service to access support around the clock:

  • 30% of the 284,576 conversations the service has had with texters over the past year have been with school pupils.
  • Nearly 40,000 of the conversations that Shout 85258’s trained volunteers have taken with texters over this time period have mentioned school, exams or results anxiety. 
  • The service has found that more than half (52%) exam age texters don’t feel they can talk to anyone else about their worries.

Last year, Shout 85258 saw a big spike in conversations with anxious pupils that began on the day before the announcement of both A level and GCSE results. The spike continued on the results days themselves: 1 in 5 conversations with young people mentioned exam results at this time, with 87% of exam age students finding their conversation helpful. The service is gearing up for another big increase in conversations around exam results, with this year bringing added complications and uncertainty following the Covid-19 pandemic.

In order to help people navigate through this difficult time, Shout 85258 has produced resources with tips on how to manage exam result stress for both students and parents. These include videos from author and student mental health expert Dr Dominique Thompson.

Video tips for students:


Video tips for parents:

Shout 85258 is the first service from independent charity Mental Health Innovations, which uses digital innovation, data-driven analysis and the experience of mental health experts to improve the mental health of the UK population. The service has at its heart a team of clinical supervisors and more than 2,000 trained Volunteers who help texters reach a place of calm, around the clock.  

Victoria Hornby, CEO Of Mental Health Innovations, which powers Shout 85258, said:

“At this stressful time of year for students, we’re anticipating a big increase in demand from young people for the Shout 85258 service. We’ve found that fear of failure around exam results has a significant impact on the wellbeing of our student texters. Those waiting for GCSE results are particularly concerned about disappointing others and letting their families down. Anxiety heightens for those anticipating A level results; last year we saw an influx of texters who were incredibly concerned about their futures and the impact their results will have on their chances of success in life. Shout 85258 volunteers are here, day or night, to listen and provide support for pupils who need someone to help them navigate the worries about exam results.”

Dr Dominique Thompson, young people’s mental health expert and author said:

“Uncertainty around exam results and concern around letting others down, combined with the rise of perfectionism in society, puts young people under incredible pressure – it’s the perfect storm. If students are anxious about their exam grades I’d urge them to talk to a friend or family member about their worries and their options and alternatives they might have. If they don’t have anyone they feel comfortable confiding in then the Shout 85258 service provides a confidential and free route for them to find a listening ear and get to a calmer space.’

Shout 85258 is the first service from Mental Health Innovations and the UK’s first 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope. It was researched and developed with The Royal Foundation as a legacy of the Heads Together campaign and was set up with a £3m grant from The Royal Foundation. Shout 85258 was launched in May 2019, with support from The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Shout 85258 provides round the clock support from clinical supervisors and trained volunteers to ensure no one has to face their problems alone. Age-related data about the Shout 85258 service are estimated from post-conversation surveys completed in around 15% of overall conversations.

Shout 85258 is a partner in the One Space campaign, which is offering a free online Summer prom to students on 12 August from 8pm with James Bay headlining.

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