For as long as I can remember, there has been talk about high school students and mental health. There are many different levels involved in mental health, stress being one of the leading problems among youth and even adults. Stress can potentially lead to many other mental health issues such as: depression, anxiety, and many others. Everyone says that they want the best for their youth, but does anyone really know the truth behind America’s teens’ mental health other than the students themselves?
The brutal truth is that now-a-day teens are more stressed than ever. Personally, I have heard many adults say teenagers need to “grow a spine” or “deal with it,” but there is a hidden statistic that most people do not know about. On a scale from one (being not stressed at all) to 10 (being at an intense/unbearable amount of stress), teens lie at a 5.8 during the school year. Adults overall have a stress level of 5.1 It is healthy to have some stress, and that level of stress is at 3.6. So, the next time you think the teen is being dramatic about their stress levels, just remember that teens statistically deal with more stress than adults.
The most troubling part of stress is the outcomes from it. Thirty-one percent of teens have said that they have become depressed and/or sad from their high levels of stress. The stress is severe enough to impact their daily lives, which is terrifying. It impacts teens so much that 23% of teens have reported skipping meals due to stress. This can cause some pretty major long-term problems, especially since a teenagers’ brain is not fully developed during this stage of life.
There was also a study on the five main stressors for teens. Stressors are what cause stress or panic. This study, taken in Baltimore (which is probably a little different than around here), suggests that the number one stressor is school work (which 68% of teens agree with) followed by parents (56%), friend problems (52%), romantic relationships (48%), and lastly, drugs in the neighborhood (48%). With all these stressors, 25% of boys and 19% of girls say that they avoid or refuse to deal with their stress as a way to cope. This truly only causes more stress buildup, and finding other ways to cope can be so much more beneficial.
Stress isn’t just stress to some. It can be a lot more than most people would think. It can cause issues not only for teenagers’ mental health, but also their physical health. Being kind and considerate can go a long way for someone who is struggling. Care for the people you call friends and family and make sure they are keeping their mental health in check. There are many ways to cope with stress and mental health issues. One of my personal favorites is a mental health journal. Mental health journals are a great way to keep your mind in check. Maybe try it for yourself if you feel like it could benefit you!
Pailey Gordon is a student at Fillmore Central High School. She is one of eight area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its 21st year.