Teen Stress

Were you a carefree teenager? Unfortunately, Generation Z is quite different. The American Psychological Association conducted a survey that found 13–17 year olds are experiencing what they think are unhealthy levels of stress.

The pressure put on teens today can be overwhelming, so they need to be given the right tools to cope with stress in a healthy way. If high stress persists for long periods of time, the negative effects on their health could impact them for a lifetime. Jamie Blakeman, LCPC, from Memorial Behavioral Health–Springfield’s Children Center, weighs in on what parents, teachers and even classmates can be on the lookout for.

“It is important to watch for changes in behavior,” Blakeman said. “Take time to listen and explore what is worrying or bothering them. Once the stressor is identified, you can teach them how to manage their stress in a healthy way.”

Warning signs:

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Lack of sleep and/or nightmares
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Irritability or overreacting to minor problems
  • Increased aggression and/or anxiety
  • Frequent headaches or gastrointestinal problems
  • Change in appetite
  • Increased sadness or hopelessness

“As the school year comes to a close, there’s the stress of finals, end-of-year projects, papers, possibly college preparation and finding a summer job, not to mention juggling extracurricular activities.  Reassuring a teen’s mental health is more important than top grades and can take the pressure off and help them perform better.”

How to help:

  • Encourage meeting basic needs first – sleep, eat and recharge
  • Prioritize and plan for what’s most important
  • Problem-solve about difficult challenges/work
  • Encourage and motivate
  • Reassure and love

Please visit MemorialBehavioralHealth.org for more information and to see a full listing of our clinic locations and hours of service.

Jamie Blakeman, NCC, LCPC, Manager of Memorial Behavioral Health – Springfield Children’s Center, earned her master’s degree in human development counseling from the University of Illinois Springfield.  She has 14 years of experience specializing in the treatment of mental health diagnoses and behavioral health needs. Her areas of interest and expertise are child and adult crisis intervention, children’s mental health wellness, trauma, anxiety and depression.


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