The month of October has been declared Mental Health Awareness month with the focus on not only educating the public about mental health but also to reduce the stigma and discrimination that people with mental illness are often subjected to.
We can all agree that mental health is something that is overlooked, and almost ignored even, especially in the buzzing society we live in today. A recent meeting with Cape Mental Health gave us a broader insight into the importance of nurturing our mental health, and we would like to continue to spread awareness of this issue. As Mental Awareness month draws to a close, a large number of young people are experiencing an important and life-changing experience: The Matric Examinations. We know that the final year of the schooling system takes its toll on many of our learners, and it doesn’t end there. Many Matriculants have the impending stress of University and financial support applications, and many other social and socio-economic challenges – all while writing their final examinations.
As a follow up to our “How parents MUST support their children during the Matric exam” article, this article serves as a guide for our Matriculants to practice and maintain a strong and healthy mental state during this crucial and challenging time. We understand that this year and beyond brings along many different stresses and anxieties for both parents and learners, so it is extremely important for learners to equip themselves mentally for challenges they’ll face beyond the classroom walls.
Below are some tips for Matriculants which, with good and regular practice, could help them cope better when faced with stress and/or overwhelming emotions
- Develop a support network: Open up to someone you trust and express your emotions and concerns. Sometimes all we need is to speak and verbally release the things we internalize.
- Tell yourself something positive: We often forget to be kind to ourselves first. Practice positive self-talk
- Give yourself the same advice you will give a trusted friend: We all need to hear what we tell others at some point in time, right?
- TAKE A BREAK: 80% of students feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities. Remember that you are human, and you need time to recharge too.
- Seek professional help: There is no shame in seeking help from a professional. Remember that mental health is just as important as physical health. If you are faced with overwhelming stress or emotions, don’t be afraid to speak up.
- Learn to stay calm under pressure: Try taking one step at a time when faced with pressure. Remember, you can’t do everything at once.
- We hope that these tips will help you and lead you to a strong and healthy mental state.
If you wish to seek professional help:
Cape Mental Health
22 Ivy Street,
Tel: +27 21 447 9040
Fax: +27 21 448 8475
SADAG (South African Depression and Anxiety Group)
For counseling queries e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SADAG Mental Health Line
011 234 4837
Where to find help:
Lifeline 24-hour helpline: 0861 322 322
SADAG helpline: 0800 567 567 / or SMS 31393.
WHO’s website on mental health: http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/mental_health/en/
SA Federation for Mental Health: www.safmh.org.za
South African Depression and Anxiety Group: www.sadag.org.
Article compiled by Nabeelah Daniels