School Stress Reaches 2024 Record in Crisis Text Line Conversions

It is mental health awareness month, so we are taking a moment to discuss one of the main issues in our texters’ lives: school-related stress. The stress of meeting expectations at school, getting into college, waiting for decisions, taking finals, and the social stress of being part of a school community are frequently mentioned by our texters. Over 1 in 4 Crisis Text Line conversations discuss these issues; they are also some of the main stressors behind conversations about anxiety and stress based on our latest United in Empathy report

Recently, mentions of school stress reached a record high of 27% of Crisis Text Line conversations this year so far, as students were closing out the year, preparing for finals, and waiting to hear about decisions on college admissions. These conversations covered a wide range of subjects, from family expectations and conflict over grades, to the anxiety of approaching finals, to the pressure of getting into college.

Line chart of percentage of Crisis Text Line conversations that mentioned school stress between January and April of 2024.
Sample size: 53,634 conversations that referenced at least one of the keywords associated with school. Find a full list of keywords in the methodology note at the end of the article.

Students need resources to cope with stress.

We recently identified 6 resources that young people need to cope with the challenges to their mental health. These are:

  1. Opportunities for social connection
  2. Engagement in music, writing, visual, and performing arts
  3. Mental health services
  4. Sports participation
  5. Books and audiobooks, and
  6. Outdoor spaces and nature. 

The availability of these resources varies a lot in the United States, and many young people now lack access to them.  When students struggle, their access to tools to cope with school stress depends on their location, down to the ZIP-code level, as you can see in the map below. The average student-to-school-counselor ratio was 385:1 in the 2022-2023 school year (vs. the recommended ratio of 250:1), and half of the 12-17 year-olds with depression didn’t receive treatment in 2022. 

A map of mental health shortage areas in the U.S.

The students in your life, too, might be struggling as they close out the school year. If you can, help them find or re-discover the resources that help them cope in moments of intense pressure. It is also worth reminding students that it is likely to get better soon. School-related stress is cyclical by nature and we typically see it drop in our conversations during school breaks.  


Methodology note:
All conversations in this analysis were anonymized and de-identified. We analyzed 53,634 conversations where at least one of the keywords associated with school stress was mentioned.

To learn more about our research and methodology, please email
For media requests, please reach out to Vanessa Showalter, Crisis Text Line’s Sr. Communications Director, at 

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