A leading mental health charity has called for those taking part in State exams to look after their well-being during the Leaving and Junior cert exams.

More than 100,000 students will begin the exams this Wednesday.

Samaritans Ireland have urged students, parents and teachers to put their well-being ahead of their grade during the exam period.

Cindy O'Shea, a regional director with the charity, said: "This can be an incredibly stressful time not only for the young person, but for other family members, carers and even teachers.

"We would urge anyone involved in exams and supporting young people with their studies, to ensure students look after their emotional health," she said.

"That way they are likely to cope better with the stress of exams, and achieve better too."

Ms O'Shea said teenagers can learn the value of listening to others, coping strategies, the importance of accessing support when they need it and, importantly, where to find it.

Last week Fianna Fáil's spokesperson on mental health, James Browne, encouraged students to talk about the pressure they are feeling.

Mr Browne said that talking about the pressure with people who have already sat the exams "can help provide a different perspective and a realisation that there are many different pathways to achieving the end goal."

Anyone who is feeling overwhelmed because of exam pressure, or who is worried about someone else, can contact Samaritans for free from any phone on 116 123. This number will not show up on a phone bill.