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Survey finds Leaving Cert students suffering from higher levels of stress, anxiety, and loneliness

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SURVEY: Initial findings from a Kerry Mental Health Association survey of Leaving Certificate students confirm that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their mental health. Pictured are Elizabeth O’Connor (PRO Irish Second Level Students Union Kerry branch) and Leaving Cert student Julia Szarota. Photo: Domnick Walsh

 

Leaving Certificate students in Kerry have said that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their mental health, while increased competition for third level places in 2021 is causing the most worry.

612 final year secondary school students in Kerry took part in an online survey to gauge how COVID-19, and the uncertainty surrounding the Leaving Cert exams, have affected their mental well-being.

Initial findings from the survey revealed that there are higher levels of stress, anxiety, loneliness, and disappointment in students since this pandemic began with students missing face-to-face contact and being in the presence of their friends.

More than half (53%) of the students said they would not know where to go if they, or someone they know, needed help from professional mental health services right away.
Kerry Mental Health Association received funding from Mental Health Ireland to carry out the research with the support of the Irish Second Level Students Union (ISSU) and Munster Technological University (MTU) over a seven-day period at the end of January.

“We believed it was necessary to ask students directly how they are feeling, what worries them the most and what they need to help them through the COVID-19 crisis,” General Manager of Kerry Mental Health Association, John Drummey, said. “The pandemic has impacted their mental health, with the Leaving Certificate and availability of third level places being the main concern of students. A concern for everyone is that over half the students don’t know where to go for professional help to deal with a mental health crisis.”

Some of the key findings

* 99% indicated that COVID-19 had created stress for them.
* 86% of the respondents felt that COVID-19 had worsened their mental health, with over one third, 37% reporting that it had worsened their mental health significantly.
* 90% of the respondents reported being very or extremely worried with regards the uncertainty of the Leaving Certificate taking place in July 2021, with over two thirds, 65% being extremely worried.
* 90% of students were worried about the increased competition for third level places in 2021.
* 73% of students said that when they are stressed, they feel their most important form of contact for their mental well-being is face-to-face contact.

The Class of 2021 in Kerry have mostly struggled to stay focused on their schoolwork despite the distractions of being confined to home during the lockdowns. They have found it challenging to maintain certain key self-care habits such as maintaining a routine, getting enough physical activity, or staying connected with others.

Kerry Mental Health Association has invited representatives from groups involved in promoting good mental health in Kerry to review the survey findings and recommend how best to address the issues that have been raised.

“This survey confirms that while school leadership is important for mental wellness, there is a need for a greater awareness of available mental health supports,” Mr Drummey said.

The second part of the Kerry Mental Health Association survey of Leaving Certs also examined the issue of bullying in secondary schools and examined what kind of role social media plays in students’ lives. The full survey will be published today (Friday).
If you or someone you know is experiencing a personal crisis, is unable to cope and needs support, text HELLO to 50808. You may also contact your GP and if someone’s life is in imminent risk, call 112 or 999 for emergency help.

Details of other resources are available from www.kerrymentalhealth.com.

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Who’s in your circle?

    Are you happy and where you want to be with your health, where you want to be financially or are you going through the motions each day, unsure of your purpose? Are you supported by others when you’re struggling or only supported by others when things are going well?Are you looking forward to […]

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Are you happy and where you want to be with your health, where you want to be financially or are you going through the motions each day, unsure of your purpose?

Are you supported by others when you’re struggling or only supported by others when things are going well?
Are you looking forward to the next five, 10, 20 years of your life?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, I encourage you to look around at the people you spend your time with. Your time is your most expensive asset. Your mind is your most expensive real estate.

With whom you spend your time, and those that you permit to impact your thoughts and decisions will have a great impact on your life.

From the outside looking in, our gym culture is the most difficult health benefit for others to understand.
Now more than ever all our brains are fed is chaos, division, selfishness and negativity. We can’t have that here. Those that thrive in that environment aren’t a good fit for us, and they won’t last long here. Either they’ll leave on their own, or we’ll tell them it’s time to go.

Years ago, when I was struggling with some people decisions (personally and business); one of my mentors told me something that continues to stick with me. It’s since been something I have said to people many times;
“The people that have helped you get to where you are may not be the same people that can help you get to where you want to go.”

Ask yourself these three questions;

* Who’s in your circle?
* Who do you need to start spending less time with?
* In order to get where you want to be, what kind of people do you need to start spending more of your time with?

Now it’s time to get to work. Start spending less time with those dragging you down. Start surrounding yourself with the people that won’t condone your behaviours that aren’t consistent with your goals, support your work ethic, help you to learn from your failures and will be excited to celebrate your successes.

When you are ready, we are here to help. Book your complimentary consultation by visiting our website www.activate.ie.

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Get on your bike from The Rose Hotel!

  There’s an energetic way to explore Tralee and its surrounds this summer as a new bike rental company has teamed up with The Rose Hotel. Tralee Bike Rental have opened a new bike kiosk located at the hotel where visitors and locals can now hire a bike. “This is a fantastic service for our […]

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There’s an energetic way to explore Tralee and its surrounds this summer as a new bike rental company has teamed up with The Rose Hotel.

Tralee Bike Rental have opened a new bike kiosk located at the hotel where visitors and locals can now hire a bike.

“This is a fantastic service for our customers and we are thrilled to be part of this new collaboration with Tralee Bike Rental. We wish Maurice and his team the very best of luck, and I know all our guests and visitors to Tralee are going to really enjoy this new service exploring Tralee and its surrounds,” Mark Sullivan, General Manager, The Rose Hotel, said.

Tralee Bike Rental have a fleet of comfortable, top quality Hybrid Bikes – ideal for a leisurely cycle, and power assisted eBikes. For families, child seats or trailer for the little legs that can’t cycle yet can be provided!

“We are thrilled to have our new business, Tralee Bike Rental, located on the grounds of The Rose Hotel,” Maurice Whelan, Tralee Bike Rental, said.

“With so many visitors coming to Tralee, we feel this will be a fantastic service and partnership. Included in the bike rental is access to a self-guided tour via our App, which has preloaded moderate and more energetic cycling tours of Tralee.”

The Rose Hotel have a new package, Tralee Activity Break, with bike hire included. You can book this package online at www.therosehotel.com or call 066 7199100.

To contact Tralee Bike Rental, visit www.traleebikerental.ie or call 085 2605817.

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Currow kids go toddling to raise vital funds

  70 toddlers from Currow Play School have become Ireland’s littlest fundraisers as they stepped out to raise vital funds for vulnerable children. They took part in the Barnardos Big Toddle which this year has the theme of ’Community Helpers’. Barnardos currently works with just under 18,000 children and families across Ireland and the funds raised will support Barnardos Early Years […]

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70 toddlers from Currow Play School have become Ireland’s littlest fundraisers as they stepped out to raise vital funds for vulnerable children.

They took part in the Barnardos Big Toddle which this year has the theme of ’Community Helpers’.

Barnardos currently works with just under 18,000 children and families across Ireland and the funds raised will support Barnardos Early Years services.

“This year, Currow Play School turns 25 and we have been taking part in Barnardos Big Toddle since 2006, which is 18 years of toddling in aid of vulnerable children,” Catherine Fleming form Currow Play School said.
“Our toddle is a highlight for the children and the team every year. It’s fantastic to get the little ones involved in something so worthwhile at a young age, it’s always a great day of fun. Barnardos provides a huge number of services in communities across Ireland, but these can only continue with help from the public. The toddle runs throughout June so I would implore anyone with toddlers or wobblers at home to sign up for Barnardos Big Toddle supported by Pipin Pear today.”

Anyone wishing to take part can register today at www.barnardos.ie/bigtoddle.  

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