Stress Management Interview with Mental Health Specialists

Milo Pacheco, Staff Writer

Many students, 49% according to an August 2015 NYU study, say that they are stressed because of school. Many experts recommend ways to get your stress levels down, such as exercising and hanging out with friends and family. Sadly, that is not possible for many high school students who need that precious time for homework, extracurricular activities and sleep.  At Broad Run High School, we have the Mental Health Help Center, located in rooms 198 and 199, which is run by Dr. Alloway and Ms. Zappala. The short interview I did with them revealed a lot about the ways students here can get mental health help during the school day.

Question: What is the most common cause of stress among high school students?

(Students) thinking they have to figure everything out at once, like school, work and home life.

Question: Do a lot of students come for guidance surrounding stress? I would say that they don’t call it stress, they may not understand its stress, they come for issues and when we break it down and what we see is that the have created a stressful environment for them

Question: How are ways you can help stressed out students?

I would say we have our mental health and wellness center, so with that we have two rooms, 199 and 198; we have soothing music, dim lighting, bean bag chair.  It’s a quiet area to calm down where students can come in when they feel like it and teachers can send stressed out students. We also have grounding tools that stimulate the five senses such as stress balls, kinetic sand, a waterfall that makes soothing sounds, zen garden, scent diffusers like lavender, and some chocolate and mints.

Question: How are ways stressed out students can help themselves?

By being conscious on not taking on too much. Sometimes you gotta take out one of those (things that you must do or that make you stressed) and make time for yourself, (one way to do this is to exercise and) there’s a lot of ways to exercise. When you’re in school, walk to and from school, break it down into smaller sections, reward yourself when (the task is) completed, go get ice cream, listen to music and be conscious that you did a good job.

Question: Are there any other resources stressed students can use to help themselves? Seeing an outside therapist is often overlooked. Short time working with a therapist can be just what a kid needs, since there’s no therapy in school. Doing something for someone else such as volunteer work, helping the elderly, giving back, for those students that believe in (a religion), tapping into your spirituality/ belief system, praying and meditating.