Worrisome stress levels catch attention of district personnel

The negative effects of stress on students have caught the attention of a significant player in the game: the school itself.

Even with the symptoms of stress becoming more common every day, many may not know that adolescents and millennials have a higher level of stress than any other generation. In their February 2015 ‘stress report’, the American Psychological Association ascertained that people within this age group are more likely than other generations to say that stress has a very strong impact on their physical and mental health.

For this reason, a survey concerning pressure and stress on students was issued at the most recent junior and sophomore class meetings. According to school psychologist Jeff Schlaeger, the purpose of the survey was to pin-point common stressors and come up with ways to help alleviate them.

“There seems to be a lot of stress in tenth grade and eleventh grade with not knowing what they want to do,” Schlaeger said. “I think we’re trying to look at if we’re getting motivational speakers, or if we’re going to do a program for them (students), and what things they’d want that to focus on.”

The school has noticed the debilitating effects of stress on it’s students. IScreen-Shot-2015-10-12-at-11.33.08-AM-e1444664038807t has caused students to miss a lot of school, as well as be prone to stomach aches, headaches, and a loss of energy. Academic advisor Sally Clark said the survey has revealed the number one cause for stress on students at Mason.

“From what we’re seeing, it’s homework,” Clark said. “What students are indicating is it’s just really having no time in their day, homework, and those kinds of things. So I think we need to probably take a look at what that is, what that’s looking like.”

Students are becoming more aware of the problem too. The APA also notes that teens regularly say that their stress levels during the school year are much higher than they think is healthy. On average, the reported teen stress level was 5.8 (out of 10), whereas it was 5.1 for adults.  

Senior Olivia Wade has definitely felt the negative side effects of anxiety on health.

“Last year I had an anxiety attack in AP Chemistry,” Wade said. “I also had another anxiety attack towards the end of the year. So I had two, and this had never happened before. I had to go to the doctor and was prescribed medicine. I found out that I had very bad anxiety problems and now, even though it’s a lot better, I’m still very stressed out.”

Administrator Shanna Bumiller says the school is looking towards several solutions to the problem.

“Anything is on the table,” Bumiller said. “We’re working with a group of teachers in exploring and gathering information about a different way to do homeroom. We think that that’s a potential avenue. I think there also needs to be some programming. (Students) need some training on what to do, how to recognize the signs, how to know their tipping point.”


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