Commentary: Mental Health Impacts on Teenagers

Commentary: Mental Health Impacts on Teenagers

“It’s about the journey, not the destination.” We often hear this phrase, however it is commonly better said than done. Today, more and more children face challenging mental health conditions that impair their lives socially and emotionally. Panic disorders, phobias, schizophrenia, and other upsets are continually beginning to contribute to the rising stress epidemic in the nation today.

So the question remains, what is the primary source of these conditions? Is it the social media and peer pressures, or the workload and assignments given by schools? From SAT’s and ACT’s to grade point averages, high school students across the nation are obliged to strive for perfection in order to receive an admission in a distinguished university.

A study conducted by the American Psychological Association in 2017 shows that more than 61 percent of students face depression and/or stress caused by the rising, perpetual “need” to receive perfect grades. Throughout their years at high school, students are often forced into a pressurizing atmosphere, created at home by their parents, who push their children to the limits without realizing what is healthy for them. Furthermore, summer classes and internships have also demanded that a high school student be able to work at the level of an undergraduate in their mid-teenage years. Teenagers are forgetting that it is important to pace their lives by doing the things they truly enjoy, instead of falling under the hassles of stress.

So how can we create a better atmosphere for the youth?

Organic maturity in an individual through focused hardwork and passionate learning is better anyday than checking boxes on a list for the sake of it. Students who stay on a low-stress schedule, with an easier workload, say that they have leisure time for their daily activities and receive a healthy amount of sleep at night.

Nevertheless, the real question is how can one become void of undue stress when they are at the brink of challenging mental health situations? Just as we have medicines to cure contagious diseases and infections, it is equally important to find cures for mental insecurities. Students should always feel welcome to talk to someone, whether that be a family member, friend, and/or school counselor. Additionally, parents should discuss a balanced schedule with their children so that students can have time for their education as well as their extracurricular activities. In other words, they should pick an activity that gives them a chance to take a break from stress, such as exercise and mindful meditation, that will leave them feeling more positive. It is always important to remember that good college admissions come in various forms and connecting the dots of what a student may like or dislike to what they want in the next phase of their life, will guide them throughout their college plans.

With a little more effort from everyone in a community, students can feel relaxed going to school without carrying tensions about their daily lives. In the long run, one can relate their stressful schooling years and their goal of getting into their optimal college to traveling on a road in order to reach an unknown and unseen destination. If you take it slow, and enjoy the ride along the way, it won’t matter what the destination looks like. However, if you speed your way through it, exerting yourself to the maximum limit, the destination won’t be rewarding for you.

The writer lives in Potomac and attends Winston Churchill High School.