As many students prepare to wrap up the end of the first semester, their stress levels may be running a bit high. Sometimes stress can be a good thing – a nail biter football game, or butterflies before a school play – our bodies typically return to normal after these situations. But what happens when the stress doesn’t let up? Our mental and physical health can be affected. Did you know that 48% of 11-17 year-olds surveyed by Mental Health America felt that they were very stressed out? According to their survey the top 5 things causing stress were: getting good grades (76%), preparing for the future (76%), loneliness (68%), body appearance (62%) and juggling priorities such as school, sports, jobs, etc (61%).
Here are some signs to look for in your child, friend or student that could show signs of stress:
- Headaches (or other aches/pains)
- Getting sick more often than usual
- Unusual mood changes (sad, losing temper, moody)
- Trouble sleeping
- Acting nervous, anxious
- Wanting to be alone
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Changes in appetite
- Fighting with friends/family
- Trouble thinking clearly
- Skipping class/activities or doing poorly in school
It’s not always easy to remove the stressors in your child’s life, but you can equip them with tools to help cope.
- Help them manage their time: set a schedule, set goals, remove some activities if needed (even if only temporarily)
- Make sure their basic needs are met: Are they eating and sleeping enough?
- Take a break: Make time for something fun, take a walk, get some air, exercise, enjoy a treat with friends or family, and be kind to themselves.
- Remind them they are not alone and it’s okay to reach out for help:
- If you need suggestions on how to talk to your teen Mental Health America has a great resource https://mhanational.org/talking-adolescents-and-teens-time-talk
- If you are concerned that your child may need more support, please take time to explore our Family Resource Kit: https://www.childrensmentalhealthmatters.org/parents-families/parents-resources/