Lets face it, our students are stressed. High academic pressures, stress at home, less time at the dinner table, social media, and the fast pace of life in our society today all create stress that other generations did not experience. Statistics show our teens are overwhelmed, depressed, and even skip eating because of stress.
American Psychological Association did a survey and found:
- 30% feel sad or depressed because of stress,
- 31% feel overwhelmed,
- 36% say stress makes them tired,
- 23% say they skipped meals because of stress.
On a 10-point scale, teens reported their stress level is 5.8 compared to 5.1 in adults.
How do kids and teens cope with stress? Some let stress fuel their desire to achieve, but most have very little resources that support their mental health. Stress can cause kids to act out against others or against themselves. Some use drugs and alcohol to cope. As parents and members of our communities, we need to find a better way to support our kids.
U.S Senator Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Senator Chris Murphy have sponsored and introduced a bill into Congress called the Jesse Lewis Empowering Educators Act. The bill will provide financial backing so teachers can provide social and emotional health for their students.
“We know that children learn with their hearts as well as their heads and both parts need educating,” Blumenthal said. “Countless studies and common sense show that children who learn to manage their emotions, play and interact positively with their peers, and constructively resolve conflicts are less likely to resort to bullying, physical violence and self-destructive behavior.” (Hartford Courant)
Thankfully, political figures and school administration are realizing that it’s not just about the academic side of learning. The most effective schools have a balance of academic achievement and social-emotional competence.
The Imagine Project has a K-12 program for schools and organizations that promotes resilience, compassion, and emotional well being. It’s a simple teaching resource requiring minimal time from the teacher while helping students with self-awareness, resilience and a deeper understanding of one another. And, as a bonus, students are given the opportunity to use creative writing skills and imagination in the process!
The Imagine Project gives kids and teens a voice. The ability to express their feelings and be heard. It’s a powerful tool for coping and healing from the difficult world we live in.