When to Ask for Help with Stress

Chronic stress and when to ask for help
The body’s stress response can be beneficial by keeping us safe, but some teens experience chronic/constant stress that can lead to physical and mental health issues later in life, such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Weakened immune system
  • Mental health challenges including depression and anxiety

A 2018 study from the National Survey of Mental Health found that the rates of anxiety and depression in people ages 6-17 years old are increasing. The signs and symptoms of mental health disorders, like depression and anxiety, can be similar to those of stress, but are much more intense, impact daily life, last longer, and require different supports and interventions. Because of the overlap in symptoms between stress and mental health issues, many young people deny that they struggle with mental health challenges and avoid seeking help.

People with an anxiety disorder often experience excessive worry, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and sleep disturbance, whereas people with depressive symptoms often experience low mood, lack of interest in activities, change in eating habits, a lack of energy or motivation, and difficulty concentrating.

More serious symptoms individuals with mental health challenges experience include:

  • Constant fear of the future
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors

If you are experiencing negative thoughts or feelings without relief seek help.  
For information on resources, visit the Where to Find Help page or the Harford Crisis Center.