Editorial: Student Stress Isn’t Trivial


Illustration courtesy of Grace Stadtmiller

Overload. Eighth grader Grace Stadtmiller sketched this image to show what middle school students go through.

Tests. Homework. Projects. Presentations. Students sit through six hours of work almost every day from Monday through Friday.

Learning can be very demanding. The process can cause a lot of stress in students, so stress breaks should be implemented into the school day.

American teens rated their stress at an average score of 5.8 out of 10 vs. the adult average of 3.8, according to Research.com’s article “50 Current Student Stress Statistics: 2021/2022 Data, Analysis & Predictions” by Imed Bouchrika. Additionally, half of middle school students “described themselves as ‘often or always feeling stressed’ by schoolwork.” In order for students to continue to learn throughout the school day and to be able to focus, students need stress breaks.

Bouchrika also wrote that, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “80% of U.S. students report feeling stressed sometimes or often, while 34% felt depression.” Anxiety disorders and other mental health issues are increasing and addressing them should start at school, where teens, in fact, spend 30 hours a week.

Over the past two years, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed a lot of things, including school. The article stated that, based on UNESCO reports during the pandemic, 87 percent of students in 165 countries (about 1.5 billion learners) were affected by the shut-down in March of 2019. Covid-19 is still impacting many, including schools and can prompt stress such as fear of losing a sick, loved one.

Some may argue that there will be students that will take advantage of these stress breaks simply to get out of class. However, this can be solved by setting limits on the amount of time spent on the break, that students may not leave during an assessment/test and that teacher permission is required. Sign-in and sign-out sheets can be set up to ensure time is spent fairly, similarly to what the library has in process right now.

We suggest that a break-corner be set up in the library for these stress breaks. Some things to include would be: sleeping or relaxation pods, fidget toys, books, scented candles or air fresheners, yoga, meditation, etc. To solve the financial problem, students could donate items and money to set up the room, since it is a room for students.

Stress is something that everyone experiences. A little bit is healthy but once it starts to become prominent, action needs to be taken.