A secondary school headteacher has spoken out about how students a have celebrated Mental Health Awareness Week.

Sharon Jenner, headteacher of Roding Valley High School, highlighted the importance the pupils are “thriving, not surviving” during exam season in particular.

Pupils at the Loughton-based school have taken part in a variety of activities, including assemblies, exam-stress workshops and a counsellor visiting twice a week.

“When there is an imbalance, students can experience problems such as anxiety, stress and depression, which can have devastating effects,” explained Ms Jenner. “So, as teachers and parents, we must not only carefully monitor the amount of pressure we apply on students, but also the amount of stress they are putting on themselves.”

Revision planning and taking part in after school activities in-between studying are considered the key to a more balanced and positive approach to exams says the school.

“Exams are an infamous stress factor for students – how many times have we seen the image of the shaky, nervous student about to sit an exam portrayed in films and TV shows?,” said Ms Jenner. “ But exam season does not have to be a daunting experience, and this is something that we, at Roding Valley High School, are trying to demonstrate to our students.

“Mental Health Awareness Week, fittingly timed in the lead up to the exam season, is a good opportunity for all educators to reflect on the state of mental health support in their school, and the exam preparations offered to students.

“It’s so important that we create environments where students feel like they can talk to each other, and to us.”