Searching for support: students

In a Nordic News survey, 94.7 percent of students said they were stressed about some aspect of their lives.


Naomi Nam

Image expressing both sides of the student mind. Art by Naomi Nam

Mia Tavares, Design Editor

Family, friends, grades, sports, work, clubs, physical health, college applications and social media are all factors students said contributed to their stress levels. 

In a Nordic News survey, 94.7 percent of students said they were stressed about some aspect of their lives.

According to the American Psychological Association, this is not a new issue surrounding high school students. However, as time passes, an increasing importance is being placed on how stress affects mental health. 


“It [stress] is a problem created by American education system (sic) The stakes are extremely high for kids of our generation, and the education and professional environments have become much more competitive,” a survey respondent said. 


They said the issue is not stress itself but the expectations that cause it. On the other hand, not all students find academics to be their most stressful activity.


Another student said, “For me, social problems are a greater problem than academic problems.”


This idea of students struggling with their workloads or friendships, and the resulting effect on mental health has become increasingly normalized nationwide. Compared to previous years, there are more expectations placed on high school students and mental breakdowns are no longer rare. 


Some of the new expectations placed on high schoolers are numerous extracurriculars. 78 percent of students surveyed said an extracurricular activity contributes to their stress and 84 percent of students also said extracurriculars contribute to their mental wellbeing.


The widespread opinion on extracurriculars has shifted from them being viewed as negative stressors to beneficial activities. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), there are good stressors that motivate people to perform well, such as extracurriculars.


However, extracurriculars do not always provide the escape from stress that students need. Even with participation in relaxing activities, stress can persist. According to the NIMH, chronic stress can lead to a host of problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other illnesses, as well as mental disorders like depression or anxiety. 


Student organizations have been working to combat the physical and mental issues associated with stress. 


ASB has become increasingly aware of the debilitating effects of stress on mental health. Last year, ASB distributed bubble wrap, doughnuts, coffee and other items to the student body. ASB handed these out during first semester finals to reduce stress and anxiety among students.


Inglemoor’s Bring Change to Mind chapter said they also work to emphasize the importance of mental health at Inglemoor. Bring Change To Mind is a non-profit organization aimed at ending the stigma surrounding mental illness. 


Senior Sharlon Kang, dedicated to broadening the discussion of mental health, is the president of Inglemoor’s Bring Change to Mind chapter. The club plans to begin meetings soon, with a strong focus on education.


“We want to bring awareness, and we want to teach our peers about the different mental health illnesses that there are and how they affect students,” Kang said. 


She said she sees the issue of mental health as especially significant within the Inglemoor community. 


“There’s so many extracurriculars, clubs, activities, and difficult classes,” Kang said, “that there’s a lot of pressure to perform and a pressure to be as good as everyone or better.”