Grade 10, 15 yrs old
Through the course of this current health crisis, it is no surprise that the rates of mental health have been increasing. About 8 in every 10 adults have reported significant growth of stress during the pandemic. According to the American Psychological Association, the age group that sufferers from the most stress in this current period are teens.
“In general the pandemic definitely has increased stress and other mental health issues like anxiety and depression in teenagers and adults as well,” said Dr. Raisa Manejwala, a licensed clinical psychologist at Clear View Counseling Center, Annapolis Maryland. However, it’s not just the pandemic that factors into teen stress. Stress among teens has always been very common.
Youth are often faced with the pressure of academics, SAT’s, relationships, peer pressure and college admissions. As Dr. Manejwala stated, “There are just so many stressors that teenagers have to deal with that comes with just being a teenager.”
In order to combat stress, it’s important to understand it. Stress is an emotional feeling or physical straining, and there are two main types: Acute stress and Chronic stress. Acute stress lasts over a short period of time. It is a reaction to a specific event or scenario. Some examples of acute stress include an argument with a loved one, being trapped in traffic, or arriving late to an important event. On the other hand, chronic stress lasts for longer periods of time, such as weeks or in severe cases months. It results from persistent exposure to a particularly stressful situation. Some examples of chronic stress are, struggling to repay a debt, searching for a job, and the death of family and friends.
The main indicators of stress include difficulty sleeping, headaches, an increase or decrease in appetite, dizziness, and mood swings. Despite all the negative aspects of stress, slight levels have been proven to be beneficial. “If you're anxious about a test the next day, or turning in an assignment, that’s good to some degree because you are dedicated to study, motivated to complete these projects,” said Dr. Manejwala. “That's a healthy level of stress that can motivate you to complete these things.”
Nevertheless, stress can be significantly destructive if one is not aware of coping mechanisms. One of the vital stress relievers is exercise. “Play some sports, maybe kick around a soccer ball in your backyard with a friend or a parent, go biking around the neighborhood, go hiking,” said Dr. Manejwala. Another outlet includes allocating time for your hobbies and to “combat stress with things you enjoy.” If you enjoy art, spend some time sketching out your favorite scene. If you find music to be therapeutic, go jam out. If you or anyone you know is struggling with stress and finding it to be too overbearing, it’s also important to consider seeking professional help.