Guest Blogger Emily Owen, 16, writes about the stress and pressure that teenagers and young people are faced with.
Many adults dismiss stress in teenagers as they don’t believe they have anything to stress about just because they don’t pay bills or have a job, but they have more stress now than adults had when they were teenagers with intense school expectations and regular exams, all to prepare for an entire month of back to back exams that are said to ‘dictate the rest of your life’. Though teenagers may experience stress like an adult, they cannot deal with it as they would, which is why it’s important to support any young people with stress and help them deal with it in a way which suits them.
Worryingly, around 82% of students suffer from stress and anxiety with 1 in 10 young people suffering from a mental health disorder. This shows how much pressure is on people in education nowadays, to the point it is causing them to fall ill and to suffer from stress, anxiety and depression.
Symptoms of stress to look out for are high irritability; trouble sleeping; a big weight change due to over or under eating; and being unable to relax. Most young people will find themselves stressed due to pressures from schools, whether it be due to upcoming and ongoing exams; large amounts of work both in school and at home; and fast approaching deadlines for assignments and essays. However, there could be other stresses in their lives such as peer pressure to do things they aren’t comfortable with so that they fit in and avoid bullying from their friends. This, combined with the pressure from school, could have a very negative effect on their mental health.
Stress affects people in two ways: physical and emotional. Teenagers and students suffering from stress from school may experience headaches, muscle pains and tension, chest pains and sleeping problems which in turn lead to fatigue. Due to the physical symptoms, high amounts of stress left untreated can lead to other health issues such as high blood pressure. Emotional symptoms include anxiety, sadness and frustration, which can all fuse together to make people feel worse, and untreated the symptoms can lead to depression.
Luckily, there are ways to manage stress with things such as regular physical activities and being surrounded by people that are found to be trustworthy, such as family and friends. It’s recommended to use ‘active’ ways to relive stress as ‘inactive’ ways, such as watching TV and playing video games, could lead to increased stress in the long term. If the stress is too much and methods like this do not help, it’s encouraged to seek help through mental health treatments such as therapies and by possibly joining support groups.