Here are three suggestions for you to implement as you walk alongside your student through the stresses they may be experiencing:

Start with being the consistent, stable, trusted adult that your student needs.

If you want to make a lasting difference in your student’s life, you need relational equity with them. They need to know that you are there for them and that they can trust you. Once you have relational equity, you can start getting at the cause of the stresses your student is experiencing.

Discern the difference between normal, everyday stress and toxic stress.

How we mentor our students through stress will ultimately be determined by what type of stress they are experiencing. In cases of toxic stress, you may need to connect with your BTO coordinator to help your student find professional help. In either case, your student needs to know that you will care for them as best as you can.

Ask good questions…and then be prepared to listen.

Listen for words like “stressed,” “tired,” “mad,” and other descriptive words that may give you a window into their feelings and emotions. And then ask, “why?” Why are you stressed today? Why are you so tired? Why are you mad? Questions like these can help you get below the surface to the root of the stress and give you a better idea of how to help them deal with it.

-Jason Matthews, BTO Mentor Coach