Teen Stress Has Been Increasing Rapidly over the Years


Stress continues to be a teenagers worst nightmare – Image from Pexels.com

Teen mental health has continuously been a growing issue over the years. From suicide, school shootings, separation of families, widespread sexual harassment and assault, and more, over 20 percent of teens will experience depression before they become an adult.

“The average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950’s.” Bill Maher quotes Psychology Today. Seven out of ten teens in the United States have stated that anxiety and depression are severe problems among their classmates. Stress is the body’s response to emotional pressure. It is the feeling of being overwhelmed and unable to fix the cause of the stress quickly and easily.

What is the Cause?

High school was designed to be a learning community that prepares young people for the adult world. Yet, students juggle a wide array of struggles from friends, drama, relationships, schoolwork, homework, tests, exams, and more, all of which make the task of “learning” difficult. According to a chart from ACHA 2018, only 2.4% of college students claim to have no stress, and 45.1% have over-average stress levels.

Stress comes in many forms, and apart from the routine exams and grades, the stress in students also comes from personal matters. Students have reported a number of causes for stress. These include getting good grades, looking good, fitting in socially, being athletic, popularity, and extracurricular activities.

The Main Blame

The most popular blame for teen stress is social media. Teens and adults spend hours every day staring at screens. Social media is known for giving off a ‘standard,’ causing people of all ages to feel bad about themselves and their appearance. The rise in the demand for phones also correlated to an increase in mental health issues among teenagers. The same came with the downloads of social media apps. Conversely, more in-person interactions are associated with fewer mental health problems.

Back in Person

Quarantine has been the word everyone hates to hear since 2020. Teenagers have been struggling with online school. As mentioned earlier, in-person interactions have correlated with fewer mental health problems. Online school has caused teens to reach a low. Many think it made things more accessible, but most claim that online school was the worst experience. Statistics show a sharp decline in student’s grades and attendance during online school.

Most schools just returned to in-person. Will things go back to normal?

Teacher Opinions

Ashley Nation, a teacher at Green Level High School, believes that the school workplace mainly causes rising stress in teenagers. She believes that many juniors and seniors are pressuring themselves to get into the best college in the area. They are becoming more and more overburdened in their work, and when students choose their classes, they pick the most challenging courses possible and push themselves much past their limit.

Being a teacher herself, she gets the students’ point of view and how their mindset develops over the years. She says that teachers need to be more mindful of each class’s students’ work, not just one. She admits that sometimes she forgets that students have more courses than just hers and gives out too much work.

“As a school community, we need to support each other,” Ashley states. “We need to make it unembarrassing for people [students and adults] to say ‘I need help.”