Back-to-School Mental Health Tips for Success


As the carefree days of summer fade, students find themselves at the threshold of a new school year, facing a mix of emotions that range from eager anticipation to anxious trepidation. The transition is a significant milestone, and while preparing for academic challenges is essential, addressing mental and emotional well-being is equally crucial. Nearly 29% of school-aged children have reported a mental health issue, so it’s important to acknowledge the shift from a relaxed summer to the structured demands of daily routine can take its toll. 

As the school bells ring, students embark on a journey of growth and learning, and this period can catalyze a range of emotions. Excitement at reuniting with friends and engaging in new pursuits mingles with the apprehension of challenges and the unknown. However, they can embrace these emotions and channel them into positive energy with the right strategies. Cultivating mental well-being is a reactive response to potential stress and a proactive approach that prepares students to face educational hurdles confidently. By nurturing their mental health, they can develop the coping skills and emotional resilience needed to thrive amidst the intellectual demands of the new school year. Here are our top back-to-school tips for mental health success this year. 

Establish a Consistent Sleep Routine

Sleep is a fundamental pillar of mental health and success. During the summer break, students often develop relaxed sleeping patterns, making it essential to re-establish consistent sleep routines for the school year. Adequate and regular sleep enhances memory, concentration, and cognitive function, which is crucial for effective learning. Aim for 7–9 hours of sleep each night, and establish a bedtime routine that promotes relaxation and unwinding before bed. Reducing screen time and engaging in calming activities, such as reading or gentle stretching, can signal the brain that it’s time to wind down for a restful night’s sleep.

Practice Mindfulness and Stress-Reduction Techniques

The school environment can be stressful, and it’s essential to develop effective stress-reduction techniques. Mindfulness practices like meditation and deep breathing exercises can help students stay present, manage anxiety, and improve focus. Encourage them to practice mindfulness for a few minutes each day, even during a short break between classes. Additionally, incorporating physical activities like yoga or walks in nature can also aid in reducing stress and promoting mental clarity.

Foster Healthy Study Habits

Effective study habits are critical to academic success and can significantly impact mental health. Encourage a study schedule with regular breaks to prevent burnout and maintain focus. Effective time management and organization skills will help reduce stress and allow students to stay on top of their coursework. Encourage them to find a study environment that works best for them, whether it’s a quiet room at home, a library, or a coffee shop.

Build a Supportive Social Network

Strong social connections play a vital role in promoting mental well-being. Encourage students to build and maintain positive relationships with peers who uplift and support them. Participating in school clubs, sports teams, or other extracurricular activities can provide opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals and foster a sense of belonging. Having a support system can help navigate challenges and reduce feelings of isolation.

Encourage Open Communication

Promote open communication between students and educators, fostering an environment where reaching out for help is encouraged. Children should feel comfortable contacting their teachers or school counselors if they encounter academic challenges or feel overwhelmed. These valuable support systems can provide resources and guidance to help overcome obstacles and excel in their studies. Likewise, parents play a pivotal role in creating a safe and open space at home for their children to express their concerns and emotions about school. Establishing transparent communication channels builds trust, and students are more likely to seek assistance when needed.

Balance Academic Demands and Extracurricular Activities

While academics are important, it’s equally crucial to maintain a healthy balance between education and extracurricular activities. Engaging in hobbies, sports, or creative pursuits outside of school can reduce stress and provide an outlet for self-expression. Encourage students to explore their interests and passions beyond the classroom, which can contribute to their overall well-being and happiness.

Practice Self-Compassion

The pressure to achieve academic success can sometimes lead to self-criticism and negative self-talk. Encourage students to practice self-compassion and be kind to themselves when facing challenges. Remind them that setbacks are a natural part of the learning process and that their grades or achievements do not define them. Self-compassion fosters resilience and a healthy mindset, helping navigate academic and personal struggles.

Stay Active and Engage in Physical Exercise

Physical activity benefits physical health and plays a significant role in mental well-being. Encourage students to engage in regular physical exercise, whether participating in team sports, running, or dancing. Exercise releases endorphins, natural mood boosters, and can significantly reduce stress and anxiety. Regular physical activity also improves focus, concentration, and cognitive function, enhancing academic performance.

Set Realistic Goals

Help students set realistic and achievable goals for the school year. Whether improving grades, participating in a play, or joining a club, setting specific and attainable objectives can provide motivation and a sense of purpose. Break down large goals into smaller, manageable steps to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Celebrate each milestone achieved, fostering a positive and growth-oriented mindset.

Seek Professional Help When Needed

Mental health issues can have far-reaching effects on a student’s energy levels, concentration, reliability, cognitive abilities, and overall optimism, posing obstacles to their performance. Studies indicate that depression correlates to lower grade point averages, and the co-occurrence of depression and anxiety can further intensify this link. Moreover, depression links to a heightened risk of dropping out of school. Recognizing that some students may encounter mental health challenges necessitating professional assistance is vital. Reaffirm that it is brave to ask for help and encourage them to seek support from a school counselor or mental health professional. Reaching out demonstrates strength and is indispensable for their well-being and academic triumph. 

The back-to-school season is a significant transition period for students, and nurturing their mental health is crucial for a successful and fulfilling year. As they face the mixed emotions of the new year, it’s essential to provide them with strategies to thrive academically and emotionally. By establishing consistent sleep routines, practicing mindfulness, fostering healthy study habits, building supportive social networks, and encouraging open communication, students can navigate the year’s challenges with resilience and focus. Balancing educational demands with extracurricular activities, practicing self-compassion, engaging in physical exercise, setting realistic goals, and seeking professional help are additional keys to promoting mental well-being. Help them unlock their full potential by prioritizing mental health alongside school and embracing a year filled with growth, learning, and success. With mental health tips, students can embark on their educational journey with confidence and optimism, ready to seize every opportunity that comes their way.

How Can Salience Help?

Salience Health supports school-aged children, 16 and up, struggling with mental health issues. We understand that addressing mental health concerns in children requires a compassionate and specialized approach. Our team of experienced mental health professionals trains to work with children and adolescents, providing them with a safe and nurturing environment to express their feelings and emotions.

We offer a range of therapeutic services tailored to the unique needs of each child. Our counselors and therapists use evidence-based interventions to address anxiety, depression, ADHD, and other behavioral challenges. Through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), group therapy, and family therapy, we aim to help children build coping skills, improve communication, and develop a positive self-image.

We believe in early intervention and prevention, and our team is equipped to identify and address mental health issues before they become more complex. We strive to empower children with the tools they need to navigate life’s challenges and build resilience, ultimately fostering their emotional growth and overall mental well-being.

Key Takeaways: 

  • Prioritize Mental Health: As students head back to school, it’s crucial to prioritize their mental well-being alongside academic success.
  • Establish Healthy Habits: Consistent sleep routines, physical exercise, and balancing educational demands with extracurricular activities contribute to better mental health. 
  • Seek Professional Support: Acknowledge that some may face mental health challenges that require professional help. Encourage students to seek support from school counselors or mental health professionals, promoting early intervention and creating a nurturing environment for healing and growth.