Are Your Schoolkids Stressed Out? Get These SEL Lessons For Better Mental Health

Oct 31, 2022

Bullying. Bad attitudes. Talking back in class. Sarcasm. All these are signs of students experiencing stress – and spreading that stress to classmates and teachers. Yup – just like a virus. Call Hope Rising (405-676-4140) and find a better way!

Are Your Schoolkids Stressed Out? Get These SEL Lessons For Better Mental Health

Stress is contagious - and that's exactly what makes it so toxic. It literally has to be contained! A supportive learning environment where kids are taught to be - and become - their best selves can go a long way to dissipating the negative classroom energy that impeded students' healthy growth.

Hope Rising has updated its ‘My Best Me’ SEL curriculum with lesson plans that help middle school children who often feel overwhelmed by everyday responsibilities, schoolwork, and increasing levels of peer pressure. While a little bit of stress can help students concentrate and absorb new material, excessive stress can interfere with brain growth and result in a variety of physical and mental health issues.

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The non-profit education organization's updated lesson plans help students to recognize and learn strategies for managing stress effectively. Above all, teachers are encouraged to listen attentively to their students. Some students don't have a trusted adult at home they can turn to in an emergency. Moreover, many students were isolated from their normal environments, peer groups, and relatives during the pandemic.

Disruptive behavior as well as suspected suicide attempts spiked during the height of the health crisis. In addition to social isolation and family instability, well over 150,000 children in the United States lost a primary and/or secondary caregiver. In October 2021 the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association issued a joint statement asserting that the pandemic-related deterioration in child and adolescent mental health had become a national emergency.

Hope Rising’s SEL lesson plans address stress management in the overall context of developing psycho-social skills that help build adaptive and positive behavior. A critical component of the organization’s lesson plans involves the science and practice of hope, as written about by board member and education pioneer Dr. Chan Hellman. Hope, which is learnable, has been shown to lessen the deleterious effects of toxic stress and increase resistance to traumatic childhood events.

You can view a sample lesson plan at

Additionally, these lesson plans cultivate a growth mindset in schoolchildren, teaching them to focus on the positive and view obstacles as chances for progress - rather than sources of frustration. When students believe that persistence will yield results, they are more willing to put in extra time and effort, and that leads to higher achievement. Moreover, recent developments in neuroscience bear this strategy out - research into ‘brain plasticity’ has shown that the brain is much more adaptable than previously thought.

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For younger adolescents getting ready for high school, effective stress management is one of the most important SEL skills to master. Not only can it help shield students from external pressures, but students will also benefit academically as well - and these skill sets will help them live healthier and happier lives.

Consider it from your own perspective - or that of your adult friends and colleagues. Imagine if you had been given the tools early in life to recognize and defuse stress. For one thing, a lot of clinical therapists and psychologists would be out of a job!

Go to and help the kids under your care or supervision chart a better, more confident path forward.

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