Mental Health Struggles of High Schoolers Today

Updated: Sep 25


Image by Gillian Callison from Pixabay


High school can be challenging for anyone. Pairing the everyday battles of adolescence with a mental health disorder can cause that experience to be even more stressful. As the harmful stigma surrounding mental health issues slowly but surely diminishes, we are becoming more aware of teenagers' struggles with mental health.


According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, at least one-fifth of youth aged between 9 and 17 years are battling a mental health disorder. Amongst the most common mental health struggles faced by teenagers, the top two are anxiety and mood disorders.


Anxiety Disorders

Photo by RODNAE Productions


High school is a time in which a teenager prepares for the adult world, asking themselves questions like "what am I going to do after I graduate?" and "who do I want to be?" The stress of college applications, exams, colossal life decisions, and typical high school stresses can create significant feelings of stress and anxiety for even the most resilient individuals.

While occasional feelings of anxiety are simply a part of life, frequently feeling anxious or worried can be a sign of an anxiety disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health has reported an estimated 31.9% of adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 had some form of anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders can include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

  • Panic disorder

  • Social anxiety

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Anxiety disorders are more prevalent among teens in today's world than ever before. There are so many added pressures on high school students these days as they navigate social media, access to the internet, higher expectations than ever, and growing worries for their own safety as they attend their classes. Anxiety disorders are not the only struggles faced by many teens these days.


Mood Disorders

Photo by Demeter Attila


Along with anxiety disorders, mood disorders are some of the most commonly found mental health disorders faced by adolescents in today's day and age, which, according to an article by Susan J Bradley, can "presage later emotional difficulties and disabilities." Mood disorders can involve a wide variety of mental health conditions faced by millions today, including:

  • Major depression

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

  • Self-harm

Adolescence is a time of life full of change and uncertainty. As one navigates their own questions about the future, changing relationships, and pressures of the high school experience, they may become more vulnerable to the symptoms of depression.


Finding Support

Photo by Pixabay


High schoolers are completing their final few years before being hurled into adulthood. This makes these last four years crucial to getting a healthy start in life. Understanding the mental health struggles and their impacts faced by high school students today is a key component to helping adolescents transition into adulthood in the smoothest and healthiest way possible.


Coping with an anxiety or mood disorder as you navigate the everyday stresses of high school can be difficult. Finding a support system to help you get through these complicated feelings and thoughts is critical to living a happier, healthier life.


If you have found yourself struggling and needing someone to talk to, you can call the following hotline:


Touchline by Touch Youth Services

This service is intended to provide adolescents with emotional support and advice as they need it in Singapore.

Monday to Friday | 9 AM - 6PM (SGT)

1-800-377-2252


Youthline

This service is intended to provide adolescents with emotional support and advice as they need it in the United States of America.

Monday to Sunday | 4 PM - 10 PM (PST)

(877) 968-8491 or text teen2teen to 839863 to get teen-to-teen crisis support during specific hours and adult aid at all other times.


References:

https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2017/07/mental-health-disorders-in adolescents#:~:text=The%20most%20common%20mental%20illnesses,people%20aged%2015%E2%80%9324%20years.

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/any-anxiety-disorder#part_155096

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2807761/