17/08/2016 09:22 BST | Updated 18/08/2017 06:12 BST

A Listening Ear Can Often Help Young People Deal With The Stress Of Waiting For Exam Results

Young people often feel under more pressure than ever before. From social media to relationships and general worries about growing up, it can be a lot to deal with. Throw in waiting for your exam results and things can be really difficult.

At the NSPCC's Childline service we've seen the number of counselling sessions given to young people worried about their exam results rise by a fifth since last year.

Exam results can feel like a make or break point in life for many young people. The job market or entry to university can be a tough time in their lives. Young people are aware of this and may feel extra pressure as a result.

Many young people who contact Childline around exam time say their fears include disappointing their parents or carers, concerns about future career prospects as well as worries that they won't do as well as their friends.

Young people who are awaiting exam results can feel isolated, the pressure to do well amongst their peer groups can mean that many distance themselves from friends and relatives in an effort to alleviate some of the pressure.

Stress caused by waiting for exam results can affect young people's ability to sleep, can trigger anxiety attacks, episodes of depression and in extreme cases can lead to self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

One of the best ways to support young people who may be stressed about their exam results is by listening to them. If they seem worried or anxious it can help if they have someone to confide in and feel that they have an opportunity to discuss whatever is worrying them.

Parents can also reassure their child by telling them they're proud of them no matter what their academic achievements may be and reminding them that although exams are important, they don't have to define the rest of their lives.

However we know that sometimes, young people find it hard to open up to those closest to them. That's why Childline counsellors are trained to help young people work through their anxieties, provide reassurance and support and enable them to feel more confidence about their themselves.

Ultimately, a listening ear and understanding will go a long way in helping young people feel at ease as they receive their A -level and GCSE results over the next two weeks.

If you're a young person don't forget that Childline is online, or on the phone, any time of day or night at or 0800 1111.