By Krystal Yang
When fall time rolls around, high school seniors have only one thought on their mind: college applications. Application season leads to high stress and tensions within the student body. However, studies have shown that anxiety is a pervasive theme throughout students’ academic careers. Although anxiety symptoms in adolescents are increasing, there are also several methods we can implement to aid them.
Anxiety is the most common mental illness in America, with one in five people suffering from its symptoms. According to the Child Mind Institute, an estimated 17.1 million children have some sort of psychiatric disorder, with 75 percent of them suffering these disorders before the age of 24. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) also states that more than 62 percent of college dropouts decided to drop out due to mental health reasons. Lack of awareness has contributed to these rising numbers; 32 percent of mental health centers on school campuses report having a wait-list during the school year, which means thousands of students are being shut down from much-needed help, help that could prevent them from turning to influences like drug and alcoholism. Social and academic pressures, especially during high school, only elevate anxiety within teens. Students often do not seek help for their anxiety until they feel extremely burdened; however, if we educate them on how to identify symptoms and where to look for support, they will be more likely to care for their mental wellbeing.
Luckily, there are many mental health services that are now available to students. University of Florida’s Counseling and Wellness Center launched an online therapy program for students to observe and record their symptoms, as well as being able to connect with counsellors over video-call. Surprisingly, this form of therapy has proven to be more effective than traditional face-to-face therapy, most likely because it is easier for counsellors to monitor students’ activities. Despite these new programs, students still rely heavily on their parents and friends for mental health advice. Therefore, teaching everyone how to properly deal with mental illnesses, like anxiety and depression, could greatly improve the lives of students for years to come.
Anxiety is an issue that students face today and will continue to face in the future. This fact may be disparaging, but we must continue fighting for increase awareness and support for mentally-ill adolescents, as they are the precious lives that hold the future of our society.