Families and students across America are trying their best to adapt to the evolving changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most schools, educational centers, and other public places are closed, leaving educators to help students adjust to the new norm. Educational institutes and teachers across the nation have reported an alarming rise in numerous stress-related issues.
According to a survey, more than 80% of students testified that the pandemic had impacted their lives. It has increased loneliness, anxiety, stress, and isolation.
However, American students were experiencing mental health issues long before the outbreak of COVID. But the pandemic has made matters worse.
Youth anxiety about the coronavirus is rising, and teachers must reduce the level of stress without panicking. It can be achieved through taking necessary, positive, and preventive measures. Here’s how teachers and parents can help students tackle their anxiety, build resilience, and stay positive.
Crisis and Trauma Counseling
A crisis refers to an event where the individual feels overwhelmed and has difficulty coping. Crisis and trauma counseling helps sufferers decrease their emotional pain, gain support, and develop a plan to cope with the crisis.
Educators and teachers who provide emotional support to students and help them deal with pandemic-related stress must possess professional competencies.
The best way for teachers to attain relevant skills and competencies is by enrolling in online degrees with a focus on crisis and trauma counseling. These courses prepare teachers to effectively develop and implement comprehensive programs helping students struggling with the Covid pandemic. It also equips educators to design and implement crisis plans and play a significant role as a leader during times of crisis.
3 Ways Educators Help Students Overcome Pandemic Stress
After the pandemic, millions of students were abruptly detached from their established day-to-day routines, support systems, and security foundations. Certainly, many still haven’t returned to classrooms. According to NCBI research, young adults are the most vulnerable group impacted by depression and anxiety during the epidemic.
As we continue to withstand the impacts of the pandemic and work hard towards recovery, here are the top ways school counselors and educators can help students cope with stress.
1. Identify Warning Signs
Given the disruption students have encountered during the outbreak, educators must be aware of increased anxiety, stress, and restlessness among students.
Students enjoying an active educational community before the Covid may resist. Moreover, they might also find it difficult to participate in a virtual learning environment. Many confident and enthusiastic students find it hard to voice their struggles during a Zoom classroom interrupted by technological glitches. Moreover, new modes of communication and virtual schooling create low-grade distress, which normally becomes a norm in these strange times.
Educators should expect some challenges and keep their eyes open for students showing changes in their behavior, activities, or moods. When students abruptly begin refusing participation, lashing out in harmful ways, or showing any other signs. It’s essential to connect the student with the proper support resources. With so much going on, the educator should watch for signs of social phobia, stress, or discomfort.
2. Connect Students with Helpful Resources
Students struggling with pandemic stress must remember that resources can help them cope. The trick here is to connect these students with the best available support.
Communication is the key to this challenge.
Numerous schools create models and encourage students to consider open communication—a great way to build self-esteem among students.
In addition, parents must know whom to talk to when their child is going through a tough time. They should be aware of the school’s support resources and counselors. Educators must be proactive in sharing mental health information and wellness programs available on campus. Furthermore, student resilience project toolkits, comprehensive online programs, and mental health wellness kits are a few resources that should be readily available on campus.
Besides this, a dedicated physical space for online classes and a stable structure to focus attention can reduce anxiety. Distressed students can also benefit from the peer-to-peer connection (another great resource). And that’s only possible when there is a safe way for interactions.
In short, students and educators must seek activities and practice preventive measures to increase their ability to cope with stress and bring their life back to normal.
3. Build Social Connection
The current social isolation situation is more likely to exacerbate psychological stress and even put students at risk. For young people and students, the strongest protective factor is social connection. After all, humans are and will remain social animals.
According to research, students battling stress and anxiety likely turn to a peer than an authority figure or adult when seeking help. Undeniably, fostering a sense of belongingness and social connection can reduce stress levels and negative thoughts.
Likewise, tapping into prevailing peer networks is a promising way of supporting distressed students. Developing social connections in an educational setting is challenging, but educators can improve the overall situation by reducing class size. It allows students to have dedicated group interactions and build a sense of connection.
Also, teachers must encourage students to lend a hand to other students and connect with them. They should also prioritize opportunities for active connection and help each other overcome stress and other prevailing issues.
The strategies discussed above have been designed to keep students in mind and help them cope with pandemic stress. Moreover, these strategies help students to stay positive and connected. Undeniably, the intense change we all face has triggered alarming levels of anxiety and stress for students and teachers.
Teachers can become positive role models for distressed students. Weaving a well-being culture into an online classroom allows students to benefit from a calm and safe place. It shows students that they can seek help from their educational community when things go south. Unarguably, the pandemic has been ruthless on every individual, organization, and nation. Nonetheless, to overcome the adverse effects of the pandemic, collective efforts are needed from everyone. Therefore, as an educator, you can pull students out of the clutches of pandemic stress by utilizing these strategies.