Students self-harming 'due to exam stress'

Many school children in the UK are being driven to alcohol and self-harm because of the stress caused when exams come around, a new study has suggested. According to the ChildLine counselling service, one-in-ten youngsters hit or scar themselves in the build up to GCSE and A-level tests, Metro reports.

This summer, around 3 million youngsters are set to sit exams, which - judging by the findings - could see hundreds of them imbibing alcohol or causing themselves physical damage.

The investigation found that 14 per cent admitted to drinking in order to cope with the anxiety, while four per cent said they had abused drugs to help ease the stress.

Head of ChildLine Sue Minto said: "Both parents and their children are worrying more about how they'll manage if they don't get the grades needed."

Chartered Psychologist Dr Derek Indoe said: "Too much emphasis is placed upon targets and A star performances in schools these days at the expense of individual achievement, growth and happiness, as the recent reports from Childline testify."

"We need to reinstate the value of the pastoral curriculum and the point of education being not just about success but how to cope with adversity, become emotionally developed and live values that promote compassion and the caring society."

The 2011 Children and Young People's Wellbeing Monitor for Wales recently uncovered an alarming rise in adolescents practicing self-harm, with hospital admissions for such cases on the up, the BBC reported.