Heading Back To School Can Be Stressful For Many Of Our Children

As the summer winds down, schools prepare to welcome their students back for the new school year. For most young people, the start of school is an exciting time. It is the opportunity to see their favorite teachers and catch up with friends they haven’t seen as much over the summer.

For some students, however, the beginning of school can cause stress, depression, and anxiety. According to a 2022 article by Scientific American, a child’s risk of suicide increases on school days as compared to the summer. Psychiatrist Dr. Tyler Black, who works at a prominent children’s hospital, says that one of the main stressors that his patients discuss is school.

By using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s WONDER database to find information on pediatric (17 years of age or younger) deaths by suicide, Dr. Black has created a “heat map” of youth suicide. On weekdays and during school months, there is a significant elevation of suicide deaths in children. The suicide rates of children ages 8 – 17 were documented from 2000 – 2020. 

During school months, the increase in pediatric suicide ranges between 30 and 43 percent. Academic burden, bullying, discrimination, and lack of sleep are only some contributing factors to stress among some students. Dr. Black mentions in the article ways to reduce this stress. Some of them are: reducing homework, adding a mental health curriculum, restoring funding for extracurricular activities, ending perfect attendance awards, and taking bullying seriously.

It is also paramount for parents and teachers to recognize some of these out-of-character behaviors. Some of these are: abrupt changes in attendance, deteriorating academic performance, lack of interest in things that the child is involved in, and sudden changes in appearance.