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
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: