Student Stress & Self-Efficacy: Psychology Needs to Help

The American work culture and busy, demanding way of life creates conditions for stress. Under the current mental health, economic, political, and global pandemic crises, we can no longer carry on with the often unrealistic cultural expectation to “just keep on going.” The APA warned of the health problem of rising stress levels in 2007, when a poll revealed that many Americans were experiencing stress surrounding work, money, housing, poor relationships, health, and work-life balance (APA, 2007). Fast forward 13 years and a new, widespread source of stress enters: the COVID-19 pandemic, and simultaneous socio-political uproar. These ongoing challenges Americans are facing are causing a pile-up of issues, with 84% of adults reporting at least one emotion associated with prolonged stress (APA, 2021). Teens and young adults in the Gen Z age range have been feeling the pressure at extreme levels for a long time too, now heightened by the pandemic (APA, 2014; APA, 2020). When the generation of our future leaders is so affected by stress and mental health, how can we expect them to focus on school and prioritize their education? Now more than ever, knowledge and solutions in the psych-science realm need to become more accessible to the public education sector. If young people are stressed, schools need to address this and give students the support they need in changing times.

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