Cork TDs worry for mental health of Leaving Cert students

Cork TDs worry for mental health of Leaving Cert students

Solidarity TD Mick Barry has said that he has "serious concern about the impact of the Leaving Cert crisis" on young people.

Solidarity TD Mick Barry has said that he is concerned about the impact of the "Leaving Cert crisis" on young people, urging the Government to make a decision that will “relieve the stress and not add to it”.

Speaking in the Dáil yesterday, the Cork North-Central TD told the Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler TD that he is fearful that the Government are close to making a decision that will add to the stress students are already under.

“Your decision must relieve the stress and not add to it and I am fearful that the Government are very close to making a decision which does indeed add to the stress,” he said.

“A late summer Leaving Cert means that exam stress goes on for an extra four to six weeks. It also means the students who need to work for the summer to make money to go to college cannot do so."

He described the cancellation of the exam, investment to ensure “open access” to third level and a cert for every Leaving Cert student this year as “the best solution by far”.

The Cork North-Central TD also said that he has "serious concern about the impact of the Leaving Cert crisis on the mental health of the nations 17 and 18-year olds".

“The Leaving Cert is stressful in normal times - one of the reasons why I am in favour of the abolition of the exam. 

"We’re told that 50 per cent of teens normally feel nervous when they think about exams and 25 per cent feel physically unwell but with Covid, things move into a higher gear altogether,” he said.

Mr Barry outlined his concern for the mental health impact of the exams in addition to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said that the stress of the exams and the pandemic has left some students unable to sleep or eat, while some are also on medication to get through the exams.

“Not all students show these symptoms, obviously - perhaps not a majority - but all are feeling the strain,” he added.

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