Managing feelings, stress areas of concern for high school students across Orange County districts

Cindy Bae Image
Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Communicating feelings an area of concern for Orange Co students
A quarter of students in grades 6-12 in Orange County Schools said they're not able to describe their feelings or pull themselves out of a bad mood.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Chapel Hill high school student Caroline Windham is wrapping up the school year amid an intense time.

"Everyone's under a lot of stress all the time," Windham said.

Sometimes that stress can be difficult to express for students like Windham.

A recent survey of nearby Orange County Schools finds that more than a quarter of students in grades 6-12 said they're not able to describe their feelings or pull themselves out of a bad mood.

Windham said it's the same here in Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools.

"I feel like it's so common that people feel like this is normal," Windham said. "So they don't feel comfortable reaching out, or that they're going to overwhelm someone because our counselors have so many people to take care of."

While some blame part of it on the pandemic, most students say they feel they can count on a teacher or other adult from school, according to the survey.

"Students have a tight relationship with teachers mostly, that's where you get your support from," Rosemary Richesin-Dodd said. "Talking to your teachers and getting accommodations on work if you're stressed out and stuff like that."

The Orange County School Board heard the resources in place to support students on Monday during a meeting, including in-person mindfulness and social-emotional wellness activities for students and workshops, such as poetry.

"Poetry can bring up various emotions and feelings and so it's important you have those tools and strategies in your back pocket to assess and analyze what those things mean to you and how to respond," mental health case manager coordinator Daniel Kearns-Pickett said.

He added how important one-on-one support and check-ins with students are to him.

"It's not therapy, it's more so more consultation check-ins and giving them additional people in their corner to support them whether it's social, emotional, academically, providing them resources and things of that sort," Kearns-Pickett said.

The data shared on Monday is the most current survey collected during the middle of the year, according to Orange County Schools.

Surveys will be administered three times at the beginning, middle and end of the year.