EXAM students were given techniques to deal with stress and depression.

April is Stress Awareness Month and Year 11 girls at Bolton School were given tips on how to manage the condition by old girl Dr Lynne Daly who worked for the Ministry of Justice as a Consultant Adolescent Forensic Psychiatrist.

She returned to her old school to explain to the GCSE pupils how bodies are built for or “fight or flight” in stressful situations and with the help of pupils began to gradually unravel some of the effects of anxiety. These included an increased heart rate, an adrenalin rush, tension, forgetfulness, confusion, heavier breathing, losing things, feeling nauseous, visiting the toilet and worrying.

For anyone suffering with breathlessness, Dr Daly offered the useful tip of breathing into a brown paper bag as this will allow you to build up the carbon dioxide in your bloodstream again.

She also pointed out that a little stress can be a good thing for all of us, allowing us to perform better.

Dr Daly highlighted strategies used for dealing with stress, which include sitting still and focusing on breathing, to physical exercise and indulging in hobbies to playing or listening to music and talking with friends and family or with teachers and school counsellors or charities such as Young Minds or Teenage Health Freak.

A spokesman for Bolton School said: "The topic of depression was also discussed candidly. Whereas occasional stress is normal, if one still feels anxious once the stressor has been removed then this can be a sign of depression.

"People can become very self-conscious and believe that nobody likes them or they may have issues with how they look. Depression takes away our ability to enjoy things such as socialising or partying. Personal hygiene may well deteriorate and people lose interest in themselves. At the severe end of the symptoms is catastrophic thinking, occasionally auditory hallucinations and suicidal thoughts. At this point, help should be sought."

Dr Daly graduated from Cambridge with a medicine degree before working for the NHS and Ministry of Justice where she latterly dealt with boys with psychiatric problems who had attacked or were in danger of attacking others. She currently sits on a parole board which reviews whether prisoners serving lifetime sentences should be allowed back into the community.