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. Autumn Dunham Neubert, LSCW, and Jamie Blakeman, LCPC, both from Memorial Behavioral Health–Springfield’s Children Center, weigh 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.”
- 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,” Dunham Neubert said. “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
Memorial Behavioral Health-Springfield Children’s Center will relocate to a new location June 26, 2017, at our main Memorial Behavioral Health location: 710 N. Eighth Street, Springfield, Illinois. Please visit MemorialBehavioralHealth.org for more information and to see a full listing of our clinic locations and hours of service.