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The Many Faces of Stress and Student Mental Health

The Many Faces of Stress and Student Mental Health. Jacqueline Melendez, Program Specialist School Counseling/School Social Work Georgia Department of Education. Psychological Definitions.

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The Many Faces of Stress and Student Mental Health

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  1. The Many Faces of Stress and Student Mental Health Jacqueline Melendez, Program Specialist School Counseling/School Social Work Georgia Department of Education

  2. Psychological Definitions Stress The pattern of specific and nonspecific responses an organism makes to stimulus events that disturb its equilibrium and tax or exceed its ability to cope. Stressor An internal or external event or stimulus that induces stress.

  3. Types of Stress • Acute (short- term) is the body’s instant response to any situation that seems demanding or dangerous. • Chronic (long-term) is caused by stressful situations or events that last over a long period of time.

  4. Common Causes of Stress • Financial • Emotional • Physical • Environment • Culture • Self Induced

  5. When Does Stress Occurs? • Stress is what you feel when you have to handle more than you are used to. • Negative stress can be linked to headaches, upset stomachs, back pain, and trouble sleeping. • Can weaken the immune system, cause mood swings and depression.

  6. Symptoms of Stress - General Stomachaches and/or headaches Trouble concentrating and/or completing assignments, drastic changes in academic performance May become withdrawn May spend a lot of time withdrawn Nightmares Over-react to minor problems

  7. What is Mental Health? • Refers to the psychological well-being • Includes feelings and quality of relationships, • Ability to manage feelings and difficulties

  8. Other Symptoms of Stress Persistent sadness/crying Excessive anxiety Lack of sleep/constant fatigue Excessive irritability Increased drinking Drug abuse Difficulty paying attention Apathy Not functioning well at work or school

  9. Other Symptoms of Stress • Younger students - thumb sucking - hair twirling - nose picking • Older students - may begin to “lie” - bully others - defy authority

  10. Negative Outcomes of Stress • Academic failure • Social maladjustment • Health problems • Poverty • Mental illness • Substance abuse • Law enforcement involvement

  11. Effects of Stress • Immune system • Heart • Muscles • Stomach • Reproductive organs • Lungs • Mental health problems

  12. An Essential Statement • There is a greater need for family and community-based education about mental illness and suicide risk along with increased access to mental health screening.

  13. Mental Health Assessments • School based mental health assessments have had significant success in identifying adolescent at-risk suicidal behavior and can facilitate high rates of follow-up.

  14. Stress Management Strategies • Use humor. • Alter the situation • Adapt to the stressor. • Accept what can’t be changed. • Make time for fun and relaxation. • Adopt a healthy lifestyle. • Develop supportive relationships.

  15. Resilience • Resilience is the ability to become personally and professionally successful despite severe adversity • Resilience is a normal trait that comes from inborn tendencies to adapt • Resilience can be fostered in the right environment (Paine, 2002)

  16. Why Resilience is important Resilience is essential to success in life Adults can help children become more resilient Fostering resilience in improves personal outcomes and reduces risk behaviors

  17. Resilience Factors • Caring and supportive relationships. • The ability to make realistic plans and implementation of plans. • Problem solving and communication skills. • Self confidence and self reliance. • Capacity to manage strong impulses and feelings.

  18. Developing Resiliency Learn to accept change. Self- discovery Set goals. Develop positive views Keep things in perspective. Maintain a hopeful outlook. Self care. Avoid fatal view of crises.

  19. Stress, Resiliency, and Culture • People react in different ways. • Culture can have an impact on communicating feelings, and reaction to adversity.

  20. Why Consider Culture? • Provides people with a design for living • Shapes how people see their world and structure community and family. • A person’s cultural affiliation often determines the person’s values, norms, and way of living.

  21. Diversity Issues • Life Experiences • Family Issues • Behavioral Adjustment • Academic Performance • Second Language Acquisition Process

  22. Helping Children Cope: Tips for Parents and Teachers • Identify vulnerable students and populations • Be reassuring • Acknowledge and normalizes students feelings • Maintain a normal routine • Adults: take care of your needs • Increase positive family time • Be a good listener NASP, 2008

  23. Helping Children Cope: Tips for Parents and Teachers • Turn off/restrict television • Prepare child for family changes • Discuss what is occurring in age appropriate terms • Present facts minimally • Try to avoid extended blaming • Help children explore and express their feelings and opinions with respect (NASP, 2008)

  24. Helping Children Cope: Tips for Parents and Teachers • Parents communicate with school • Teachers assess students needs • Consider class discussion if students indicate interest • Encourage students to talk to parent, teacher, or other caring adult • Seek positive activities for children to help others in need

  25. Helping Children Cope: Tips for Students • Be aware of your feelings • Avoid worse case scenarios • Maintain normal routines • Take care of your health, etc. • Discover and focus on your strengths • Do something to help others • Use all news sources

  26. Helping Children Cope: Tips for Students • Keep news in perspective • Know that adults are “upset” • Remain positive

  27. What to do if this is not successful • Consult with school personnel • Psychologist • Counselor • Social worker • Consult with mental health personnel in the community • Consult with spiritual counselors, churches, etc • Consult with physicians, if stress is prolonged

  28. Look Listen Link: Washington State Project • Curriculum designed for middle school. • Consists of four 45 minute lessons. • That help students to: • Identify causes of stress. • Healthy ways of coping with stress and anxiety. • Recognize friends who are depressed and how to link them to resources.

  29. 2005 Georgia Suicide Facts • Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for 11-18 year olds. • 1999-2005, a total of 6,433 suicide attempts resulted in death. • 7.9% attempt suicide. • 12.4% make a plan for suicide. • 15.5% seriously think about suicide. Teen Screen National Center for Mental Health

  30. Resources Teen Screen National Center: www.teenscreen.org American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: www.afsp.org Kids Health: http://kids.org University of Michigan: http://health.med.umich.edu UCLA School of Mental Health: http://smph.psych.ucla.edu

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