Wigan mental health project helps students with exam pressures

A collaboration between a Wigan high school and a new mental health project is helping students learn how to combat exam pressures.

Friday, 19th April 2019, 8:36 am
Updated Friday, 19th April 2019, 9:44 am
Gemma Heaton

Pupils at The Deanery sixth form have been learning about how to look after their well-being as AS and A-levels approach.

Gemma Heaton from Smile and Reset: The Happiness Project, has been delivering workshops on exam stress relief and meditation.

The Hindley mum-of-two has been helping borough residents with their mental health since setting up the projects, which teach people how to be grateful and mindful in their own lives.

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Reset/Smile at The Deanery

“The pressure on children and teenagers in education is rising,” said Gemma. “As adults we have to learn resilience tactics and techniques, but this idea is to build it into kids so they know how to cope.

“A lot of children have a fear of failure, feelings that they aren’t good enough. We want them to strive for success and to push themselves but to be resilient and not to fear failure.

“You never fail, you only learn, you can still keep going.”

During the sessions, students were able to develop strategies to help them relax and cope with the academic pressures they are facing.

Throughout the session at the Deanery, Gemma outlined to the students the importance of taking care of themselves to maximise success and to promote resilience.

Through the Smile programme – which teaches children the same principles as the adult “Reset” programme in a child-friendly way – Gemma taught the students tactics for dealing with rising stress.

Meditation is one way of doing this, and the students had the opportunity to try this out for themselves.

Speaking after the session, pupils said it was “inspirational and eye opening” and “beneficial and engaging”.

Anthea Friend, head of The Deanery sixth form, said: “Students can feel overwhelmed at this time of year as exam stress rises, and the focus on study can often mean less time for looking after their physical and mental wellbeing.

“Thank you to Gemma at Reset for spending time with the students.

“ We are sure this will impact positively on their mindset and exam success, and secure some more fabulous results in the summer of 2019.”