Matric results aren't always a party. Here's where you can go for help
While the release of matric results is generally a cause for celebration, sometimes the wait for the results and the results themselves can take their toll. Eyewitness News looks at the resources available to help young people get through the disappointment of not making the matric pass cut.
JOHANNESBURG - The wait is over for the matric class of 2021 as government schools are set to release matric results on Friday, 21 January.
The Department of Basic Education released results of government school matriculation rates on Thursday. IEB schools released their results on Wednesday, 19 January.
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Matriculants can access their results through the Department of Basic Education's zero-rated website where candidates can register using their ID number and exam number. The results will also be available in the newspaper after the Pretoria High Court granted an interdict compelling the department to publish them.
The department had earlier this month announced that it would no longer make the matric results public as per the Protection of Personal Information Act, making the results much less accessible than in previous years.
But while the release of matric results is generally a cause for celebration, sometimes the wait for the results and the results themselves can take their toll. The department's announcement on the publishing of the results sparked conversations around the mental health of matric pupils who failed or did not perform the way they thought they would.
TRIGGERS AND EFFECTS
When the results are not the desired outcome, those who fail matric or underperform often feel alone, isolated and self-loathing.
This can cause anxiety and depression and at times lead to suicidal thoughts.
According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), 9.5% of teen deaths in South Africa are caused by suicide.
The group said that one of the triggers could be exam disappointment.
“There are children who have undiagnosed depression or who undergo a trauma or an experience that makes them more vulnerable, and this can be the final stress that causes them to commit suicide or use drugs,” said SADAG's Dessy Tzoneva.
South African psychologist Lee-Ann Hartman said that we have to remember that we all have different strengths.
“What one sibling achieves may not be what their younger sibling can do well - but teachers, parents and students themselves often judge themselves according to prior standards,” she said.
Disappointment is not just reserved for students who don't pass.
One needs to keep in mind that for those pupils who set extremely high goals for themselves, not reaching that desired level can be devastating.
Psychiatrist Zamo Mbele, who spoke to Inside Education, said that while it was normal to be worried about how one performed, some learners who believed that they had not done well tended to worry too much, which led to being anxious or depressed.
“Anxiety is a real and severe worry that does not respond very easily to facts and reality testing and checking. So, if we imagine somebody with such a very heavy worry, we can imagine that sometimes that worry can feel like it’s overwhelming or overpowering for the person," Mbele said.
SIGNS OF DEPRESSION
According to SADAG here’s a list of some of the signs to look out for:
• Suicidal talk and a previous suicide attempt.
• Current talk of suicide or making a plan.
• A strong wish to die or a preoccupation with death and dying.
• Giving away prized possessions.
• Signs of depression, such as moodiness, hopelessness, withdrawal, difficulty with appetite and sleep, and loss of interest in usual activities.
• Increased alcohol and/or other drug use.
• Hinting about not being around in the future or saying goodbye.
• Behavioural changes and taking excessive risks.
• Making arrangements to take care of unfinished business.
But failing the matric exams or not achieving the desired results is not the end of the world. The Department of Basic Education's Second Chance Matric Support Programme gives pupils the opportunity to achieve or improve a matric qualification.
And if the state of depression persists, there are resources available to help.
Below is a list from Therapy Route of helplines, crisis lines, and suicide hotlines that may help. They are available to call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, they don't cost you anything and they are confidential:
Adcock Ingram Depression and Anxiety Helpline
Adcock Ingram Depression and Anxiety Helpline offers emotional support to people in South Africa who are in distress or at risk of suicide.
Tel: 0800 70 80 90
Akeso Psychiatric Response Unit
Akeso Psychiatric Response Unit offers 24-hour service to anyone requiring emergency psychiatric intervention in South Africa.
Tel: 0861 435 787
Befrienders Bloemfontein offers 24-hour emotional support, via the crisis line and e-mail, to people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. Face-to-face counselling services are available to callers with access to Bloemfontein.
Tel: 27 (0) 51 444 5000
The ChaiFM Helpline offers a 24-hour helpline for people facing emotional distress and personal difficulties throughout South Africa. They also offer a referral service in instances where further intervention or face-to-face help may is required.
Tel: 0800 24 24 36
Enables children to discuss difficulties that would be far too risky in face-to-face contacts 24 hours a day.
Tel: 0800 055 555
Cipla 24hr Mental Health Helpline
Cipla 24hr Mental Health Helpline offers free counselling support to people in South Africa who are in distress or at risk of suicide.
Tel: 0800 456 789
Dr Reddy’s Help Line
Dr Reddy’s Help Line offers emotional support o people in South Africa who are in distress or at risk of suicide.
Tel: 0800 21 22 23
Lifeline South Africa
Lifeline South Africa offers 24-hour service to people in South Africa to address the psychological and social stresses and trauma that they are struggling to deal with.
Tel: 0861 322 322
SADAG Suicide Prevention Line
South African Depression and Anxiety Group's Suicide Prevention Line offers 24-hour support to people in South Africa who are at risk of suicide.
Tel: 0800 567 567
South Africa Suicide Crisis Helpline
South Africa Suicide Crisis Helpline offers 24-hour support to people in South Africa who are in distress or at risk of suicide.
Tel: 0800 21 22 23
Tel: 0800 12 13 14
Tears Foundation provides assistance nationwide with a 24 hour free SMS service to anyone who is a victim of rape and sexual abuse in South Africa.
Tel: 1347355# / 010 590 5920