Student Stress During COVID 19

COVID-19 has led to increased stress and anxiety for many individuals. For our adult learners, this may lead to attendance, engagement, and retention issues.  

  • How does this ongoing stress impacts individuals in their educational pursuit?

I invite you to share your ideas and thoughts. We will continue the disucssion from the Health Literacy Coffee Break on Friday, November 19th, 2020. You can register for live discussion here:

I hope to hear your thoughts and share ideas. 

Kathy Tracey



During our live discussion, we went over some processes that may help mitigate student stress. After reviewing this information, I'd love to hear your thoughts. What are you seeing at your program? And as a final thought, as educators, administrators, and support staff, you are not alone in your stress and anxiety as you work with our most vulnerable populations. 

Strategies include: 

Develop processes to help ensure physical and emotional safety

  • Institution displays map of space showing exits, restrooms, parking, and offices.
  • Rooms are labeled.
  • All areas are well-lit, i.e. parking lot, hallways.
  • Alternative meeting spaces are offered to students if they have safety concerns about their environment

Develop process to help build trustworthiness and transparency

  • When participating in services, the student understands what will be done, when, why, at what cost, and ultimate goals.
  • Expectations of a course / program is explained to students.
  • The informed consent process is obtained through genuine choice to give consent, withhold consent, or give partial consent.

Develop processes to help build empowerment

  • Services are student centered and aligned with skills needed for success in the campus domains.

Develop processes to help build collaboration and mutuality

  • Members who identify as trauma survivors are members of advisory boards.
  • Advisory boards have leadership roles in planning and evaluating services.
  • Client feedback is considered in the goal setting and development of program priorities.

Develop process to help build voice and choice

  • Expectations for services clearly defined.
  • Students are screened for trauma as a part of any treatment plan.
  • Eligibility criteria for services are open to all students.

Develop Language and Cultural Competence in staff

  • Universities conduct annual needs assessments which incorporate the demographics of students, including socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
  • Funds are allocated to integrate trainings that enhance cultural competency and trauma awareness. 
  • Staff members recognize the unique trauma issues specific to different populations.
  • Staff members are trained in linguistic competency, the ability to communicate effectively to diverse audiences.
  • Health care services are aligned with the National Standards on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services.
  • Institutions gather data on race, ethnicity, and written/spoken languages of students and resources are provided in multiple languages.
  • Training on cultural competency as it relates to trauma is provided annually.

Note: These tenets, key questions and emerging practice standards are adapted from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2014). Trauma-informed care in behavioral health services: TIP 57 (HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-4801).; Hoch, A., Stewart, D., Webb, K., & Wyandt-Heibert, M. A. (2015). Trauma-informed care on a college campus.