Intermountain Healthcare

Addressing Back to School Stress


Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 08/16/2021 --More than ever, there is a need to focus on mental wellbeing. Especially when faced with another potential COVID-19 surge. Mental health concerns are high as individuals work protect themselves and their families from the virus and limit physical contact with others. This can be a challenge to mental wellbeing.

Parents also serve a major role in the mental well-being of their children. As children and young adults go back to school, questions continue about being safe during the COVID-10 pandemic and normal stress is elevated for youth.

Dr. Denise Lash, psychologist and director of Intermountain Healthcare Behavioral Health, talked about ways that parents can help navigate and support their children's mental health.

"There is a chance to reach out and help our children realize their past accomplishments at handling stress while also being there as a compassionate listener to their stresses," said Dr. Lash.

Understand These are Uncertain Times
Everyone needs to get to a point where they are able to be flexible – understand that there will be changes to routines. Don't be stressed too much when they do. The added stress can leave the whole family in turmoil. Especially if parents can model for their children how to approach change with curiosity and a positive, hard-working attitude, that will be very beneficial for the kids.

The good side is that through the strife's of the past year, we have also been given the opportunity to practice and develop our resilience. Some people think of resilience as a trait one is born with (hardiness) or an outcome (presence of post-traumatic stress or growth).

Resilience is neither lucky or passive and can be strengthened with practice. Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity. When we get far enough past an adversity to look back with perspective, we can consider its effects on our lives and identities, reflect on the skills we developed, the actions we took, the lessons we learned, and the reasons we kept going.

Hang on to The Positives of Quarantine
Did you relish the times of board games or walks? Then keep them as part of your family routine. Hold tight to the connections and keep them meaningful. This is will help cope with the stressors.

Social interaction is so important. Keep the ways we found to socialize in any way – virtually or in person.

Parents Can Be Advocates
If the plan is not working, then parents should be empowered to reach out to schools and engage in constructive conversations. These conversations should not be complaints, but a discussion about finding a commonplace to help the student and family.

Talk to your family and friends about stressors and check in on them as well. Please reach out to your family doctor, therapist if you need to mental health resources. You can also reach out to the free Intermountain Healthcare's Behavioral Health Navigation Line (833-442-2211) seven days a week, from 7 am to 7 pm. Connect Care for Behavioral Health also allows getting virtual visits with providers.

If you or someone you know needs immediate support, contact the Utah Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255, 24/7).

Intermountain Healthcare's Behavioral Health Navigation Line: (833) 442-2211
Utah Crisis Line: (800) 273-8255
Connect Care for Behavioral Health: (833) 442-2670 or visit:

About Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit system of 25 hospitals, 225 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,600 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in clinical quality improvement and in efficient healthcare delivery. For more information about Intermountain, visit, read our blogs, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube.