Student Mental Health: Dealing With Stress

Students in all stages of education face many stressors that significantly impact their mental health. The pressure to succeed academically and the need to maintain social connections or take part in activities out of class affect the still-developing mind (Brown, 2018). According to Brown (2018), approximately three-fourths of lifetime mental disorders develop in people younger than 25 years. This statistic demonstrates the overwhelming presence of issues that influence young people’s mental health.

As students spend most of their time in school, it can be argued that academic stress is one of the contributing factors to mental health problems. Another research shows that more than 65% of students felt stressed about their poor grades, while almost 60% of them consistently worried that the tests they had to take would be too difficult (Pascoe et al., 2020). Even diligent studying does not free young people from experiencing high levels of stress – approximately 55% of all students reported being extremely anxious before a test even if they felt well-prepared (Pascoe et al., 2020). Thus, academic stress plays a crucial role in the early changes in people’s lifelong mental health.

The presented numbers reveal the urgent need to develop solutions for helping students deal with academic stress. Based on the extensive research of current literature on stress in students and ways to lower it, the recommendations include several programs and approaches for stress management. The first proposed solution includes mindfulness-based interventions – a set of meditative practices that provide self-reflection, breathing exercises, and other relaxation practices. Another solution is based on physical activity as a source of energy and positive thinking.

As noted above, academic stress is tied to the need to succeed and the fear of failure. Therefore, students develop maladaptive patterns of thinking, which lead them to experience anxiety even in situations where they put much effort into studying and preparing for tests. In these cases, mindfulness can be proposed as a way of dealing with stress. As Daya and Hearn (2018) state, mindfulness-based interventions are popular among medical students who encounter increased pressure due to the high responsibility of their future profession. Nevertheless, mindfulness techniques can be used by all students who face high-stress levels. Mindfulness can be different for each person, but it is usually defined as a “quality of consciousness” – awareness of the present moment, surroundings, inner thoughts, and emotions (Daya & Hearn, 2018, p. 148). Therefore, it is a practice that includes introspective thinking and breathing to support relaxation and meditation.

Interventions with mindfulness practices are plausible because they do not require significant financial resources or time. For example, some meditation sessions can be as short as 20 minutes per day, and they do not need any additional materials (Daya & Hearn, 2018). Some resources may be necessary for guided meditation, and the help of experts and mentors can increase the effectiveness of a session. Nevertheless, adding a meditation and breathing exercise break into a student’s routine is easy. The implementation process for such interventions includes an introductory stage where students learn about mindfulness, its techniques, and its benefits. During this step, students also report their stress levels and mental health concerns. Then, periods – for example, 30 minutes per day – are allocated for the new practices. Then, information is collected following the intervention to see its effect on students’ mental well-being.

The primary intended effect of mindfulness is reduced stress related to academic achievements. According to Daya and Hearn (2018), many studies support the probability of positive outcomes of mindfulness practices on students’ mental health. The solution can help reduce depression symptoms, decrease the risk of burnout, and lower stress levels. Other effects include better sleep, improved attention in class, and better moods. Overall, it is expected that mindfulness-based interventions can improve students’ performance in school.


Brown, J. S. (2018). Student mental health: Some answers and more questions. Journal of Mental Health, 27(3), 193-196. Web.

Daya, Z., & Hearn, J. H. (2018). Mindfulness interventions in medical education: A systematic review of their impact on medical student stress, depression, fatigue and burnout. Medical Teacher, 40(2), 146-153. Web.

Pascoe, M. C., Hetrick, S. E., & Parker, A. G. (2020). The impact of stress on students in secondary school and higher education. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 25(1), 104-112. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. "Student Mental Health: Dealing With Stress." April 9, 2023.