The most popular programon campuses today:Stressbusters

What is the Stressbusters program?

The Stressbusters outreach program and its companion app are among the most popular and engaging wellness resources on college campuses today. Stressbusters dramatically reduces academic and mental health risk factors by training teams of students to be free 5-minute backrub providers and campus health ambassadors at magnetic events all year long.

Stressbusters Schools

Watch Stressbusters in action

Stressbusters is tested, flexible and aligns with American Foundation For Suicide Prevention recommendations. Watch the Stressbusters video to learn more about why students and staff love Stressbusters outreach program and app.

"I heard about Stressbusters mid-semester and I thought it was too good to be true. I decided to go check it out and after my first Stressbusters I felt invigorated. More importantly, I had something to look forward to week to week and someone that cared enough about my wellbeing as a student. I began going almost every week and Stressbusters played a huge part in me being able to relax with balancing school and illness. I continue to bring Stressbusters up in conversation so you all can be appreciated and recognized for the great work you all do and hopefully someone can have an experience as meaningful as mine."

Taylor Tutin

University of Missouri

"The interest and enthusiasm for Stressbusters at Johns Hopkins has been remarkable and it has really helped to enhance the visibility of our office. Jordan Friedman's guidance has been invaluable since he is so familiar with the program and provides all of the necessary start-up tools. Stressbusters has been a win-win all the way around and I highly recommend that other schools implement the program."

Barbara Schubert, MHS, CHES

Director of Health EducationJohns Hopkins University

Stressbusters makes a big difference

Ongoing assessment of the impact of the Stressbusters ground program shows significant risk factor reductions. In one campus study of 1,100 students and staff, participants’ overall stress scores dropped 40% after their Stressbusters experience. Significant decreases in frustration, worry and overwhelmed feelings were found, while increased ability to cope with stress and complete tasks were reported. For 20 years, Stressbusters has helped and trained more than 500,000 students and staff off-line and on. Contact us for a summary of program assessment findings.


No, both of these Stressbusters initiatives are designed to work together or alone.

Touch could be a problem in any situation if it is unwanted. Stressbusters ground programs have remained safe and rewarding because their wellness breaks are provided by teams of students who are trained and required to follow the established and tested program guidelines. Additionally, Stressbusters events are only held in public campus spaces for university affiliates who provide written and verbal consent to be touched. Through its many public events, Stressbusters volunteers repeatedly model healthy touch and how to communicate before and during a variety of interpersonal interactions.

No. Students volunteer their time at events as they would for a student group or community service project. In some cases, students in program leadership roles such as program coordinators and social media managers may also be student workers, interns, etc.

Stressbusters Ground and Air can be part of health promotion, health services, counseling, residential life, a recreation center, athletics, student government and/or other departments and groups.

Stressbusters ground programs take 2-3 months to develop. The major phases of the program’s development include:

  • Customizing and establishing an operational structure for the program
  • Training student coordinators and staff to manage the program
  • Recruiting and training student Stressbusters
  • Launching and marketing the program on campus

The app can be customized for your campus and launched in as little as 2-3 weeks.

Stressbusters ground programs are jointly installed and launched by students and campus staff with training, guidance and materials from Stressbusters national staff. Once the program is up and running on campus, specially selected and trained students coordinate day-to-day activities with staff serving primarily as operational advisors. After installation and launch, national Stressbusters staff continue to develop and provide expert guidance, student recruitment materials and many more success-boosting supports.

After the app is customized and launched, app content is continuously updated by the national Stressbusters program. Campus staff can also updated app content and work with national staff to keep the app’s information and resources current and engaging.

No! Stressbusters do not practice massage therapy or provide the same services as Licensed Massage Therapists (LMT’s). Stressbusters are student volunteers trained to provide free 5-minute wellness breaks and resource information on campus. However, Stressbusters programs do promote LMT services on campus and in the community.

Because Stressbusters Ground and Air benefit many individuals, departments and groups on campus, funding and collaborative support have come from health services, residential life, athletics, student government, parents and grants. In particular, Federal SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration) grants to institutions have been used to fund numerous Stressbusters Ground and Air initiatives.

"I was a student at NYU and I LOVED the stressbusters program. Everybody wanted to either volunteer to give back rubs or, mostly, get one ...especially at the times of exams when you really need to relax and chill a little bit. It was a great way to reach out for stressed students and provide a touch of companionship."

"My students’ grades were stellar and I believe that your Stressbusters team contributed to their success because they went into their exams relaxed and rejuvenated."

Become a Stressbusters School

No two schools are the same, so get in touch to see how Stressbusters can be designed to support your particular wellness goals, community needs and campus culture.