By Ragheema Mclean
The wait for the outcomes of the 2023 National Senior Certificate (NSC) is nearing its end with learners expected to receive their results on 18 January and their original statements from Friday 19 January 2024.
As thousands of matric learners across the country wait for the release of their matric results, it is inevitable that their anxiety and stress levels are going to be elevated.
Matric is such a high-pressure year, and the emphasis that is placed on learners’ academic outcomes and the need to deliver exceptional results does take a toll on their mental health.
Speaking on VOC Breakfast on Monday, educational psychologist and professor at the University of Pretoria, Irma Eloff, said society has made matric results a very high-stakes event in the lives of young people.
“We need to be very careful about how we frame the message around Matric results.”
“No matter what the outcome, there is an upside to every downside and a downside to every upside.”
Eloff said that learners should not be discouraged if their matric results are not what they expect and stressed that there are so many alternative opportunities and options available for them to pursue.
She further stressed that it is very important for parents to constantly reassure and provide support to their child no matter what the outcome will be.
“Parents should make it clear to their children that its not what happens but rather what they do with their results that determine their future.”
According to research, because of the high levels of stress many learners experienced leading up to the matric exam results, deaths by suicide tend to spike around this time of year.
Eloff said that learners should not feel discouraged to seek mental or psychosocial support during the next few weeks.
“The important thing to remember is that your matric results do not define you, it just one thing in your life. The success you in your life will depend on many other tests you take in your life.”
Despite the commonness of mental health conditions across all communities in South Africa, there’s still a significant stigma that prevents identifying issues as mental disorders and people accessing the interventions and treatments.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with their mental health and is need of help, contact the following resources:
- Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567
- LifeLine’s 24 Hour Counselling Line on 011 422 4242 / 0861 322 322
- South African Depression and Anxiety Group’s (SADAG) Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567.