October 10 is World Mental Health Day – a reminder to slow down, tap in, and really take stock of our mental health. As the world embraces the serious impact of chronic stress and anxiety, there seems to be a heavy emphasis on mental and emotional wellness for adults, but are we forgetting to talk to our teenagers about their mental health?
In April of 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a page on their website about children’s mental health. For example, in the article, it is cited that those “ever having been diagnosed with either anxiety or depression” among children aged 6–17 years increased from 5.4% in 2003 to 8% in 2007 and to 8.4% in 2011–2012. The evidence of anxiety and depression in teens is alarming.
It’s important to remember that we all can feel the effects of stress and anxiety at one time or another. Our founder, Neha Gupta, has even felt it herself. But instead of falling into despair, she decided to help future generations by creating an organization that supports mentorship and community – College Shortcuts.
“I had to become the mentor I needed as a teenager. Riddled with stress and anxiety, I had no idea who to lean on, and I am proud to say that we have helped thousands of teens navigate their educational experience with ease while having someone to connect with during this tumultuous time.” -Neha Gupta
Applying to colleges is an exciting time, but it’s certainly not a simple process. Worrying about falling admissions rates, financial aid, extracurriculars, grades, and a million other things can take a toll quickly. Questions like ‘Am I good enough?’, ‘What if I don’t get into my dream school?’, ‘What if I don’t know what I want to do with my life?’, and other doubt-fueled thoughts, often take center stage, sending high school seniors into a tailspin.
World Mental Health Day is an awesome opportunity to shine a light on emotional intelligence, managing stress, and general mental wellbeing. So as a parent, what can you do to help your teenager navigate this chapter of his or her life?
Make time to talk about it.
The simple act of making yourself available to talk, whether it’s about what’s bothering your child or not, can make all the difference. Even if they’re not ready to talk, it’s important they know they have the option.
Help them practice good time management.
Friends, family, and schoolwork can be enough to juggle, but seniors have the added stress of college applications. Sit down with your senior (or have them reach out to a guidance counselor or us) to create a schedule so they can stay on the success track. Be sure to check in periodically to see if there are any upcoming deadlines. Not only can this practice soothe admissions anxiety, but it’s a skill they can use for the rest of their life.
Work together to find healthy outlets.
You know what they say about all work and no play! It’s important for your teen to make time to take care of him or herself. Hobbies are a great way to relieve stress (not to mention they help us become more well-rounded) such as reading, writing, hiking, painting, running, baking and more. There are many ways to unwind.
Remind them to focus on what they have control over.
This is a big one and we all need this reminder from time to time. Decide on a plan and make peace with all the rest. Why play the ‘What if?’ game when you can focus on what you should do and how to do that well?
Adolescence is a beautiful time of discovery and growth, but it’s also filled with hormone fluctuations and changing world opinions. Add in the increasingly competitive attitudes in school and the pressures of deciding the future right now…it is no wonder teens are in a constant state of flux!
Now, as they make one of the biggest decisions of their lives, they need your support. If you and your soon-to-be college student need help curbing college admissions anxiety, fill out an application to have one of our experts help you navigate and simplify the process.