This month, we’re taking a closer look at the impact of stress in today’s students, and how we can help them deal with it in a positive way.

As mentors, it’s important that we know the difference between normal, everyday stress and toxic stress that our students may be experiencing.

Normal, everyday stress includes things like: the stress students feel before taking a test, when they experience an injury, or when they start a new job.

Toxic stress occurs when a student experiences frequent, strong, and/or continuous stress, and includes things like: emotional or physical abuse, mental illness in a parent or caregiver, poverty, or alcoholism in the home. This kind of stress becomes toxic especially when the student has no adult support to help cope with the stress or provide a buffer for it.

So, how can we tell the difference between normal, everyday stress and toxic stress? Check back next Monday for some of the signs to look for when mentoring students.

-Jason Matthews, BTO Mentor Coach