As the back-to-school season approaches, it’s essential to address the mental health of teenagers, particularly given the challenges they face during this transitional period. In this article, we’ll provide expert guidance on supporting Back to School Teen Mental Health.
In a recent research conducted by Wysa, alarming statistics reveal that over 80% of teenagers are grappling with mental health concerns, making Back to School Teen Mental Health a critical issue, with 1 in 3 requiring professional assistance based on standard screenings. However, the most concerning aspect is that a significant majority of these young individuals are not accessing the support they need. Shockingly, more than half (55%) of those who scored 3 or higher on the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-2 and Patient Health Questionnaire-2 screenings for anxiety and depression have not reached out to a relevant professional for help. As 7 in 10 (69%) young people express extreme worry about schoolwork and exams, parents must take action to support their adolescents as they navigate these challenges this September.
Emma Taylor, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Lead at Wysa, a leading AI-driven mental health app with clinically proven efficacy in reducing anxiety and depression, shares invaluable tips for parents to facilitate their children’s well-being.
Creating a Stable Routine for Teens:
Assist young people and teenagers in crafting a structured daily schedule that encompasses schoolwork, hobbies, exercise, relaxation, and socializing with friends. A dependable routine can instil a sense of stability and security, which is pivotal for reducing anxiety.
Ensuring Restful Sleep for Teenagers:
Wysa’s collaboration with schools in Scotland highlights that sleep is a major source of stress for 7 in 10 young individuals. Lack of sleep can exacerbate anxiety, while anxiety can hinder sleep. Encourage healthy sleep habits, including bedtime routines and engaging in activities during the day to promote physical fatigue. Remind them that adequate rest energizes them for their pursuits—sleep is essential for their well-being.
Empowering Adolescents with Stress Coping Methods:
Empower young people with various stress management methods, such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, or journaling. These techniques equip them with effective tools to cope with stress and anxiety.
Utilizing Digital Tools for Teen Mental Well-being:
Recognize that young people are frequently connected to their phones. According to the Wysa Youth Report, 78% of teenagers would prefer a confidential mental health app over consulting a teacher. Additionally, 3 in 10 turn to platforms like TikTok for mental health support. Wysa is a tailored resource available for individuals aged 13 and above, delivering personalized support suited for teenagers.
Fostering Open Conversations with Young People:
Foster an environment where young people feel comfortable expressing their feelings and worries. Please encourage them to articulate their experiences, anxieties, and school-related challenges. Practice active listening by paraphrasing their thoughts, demonstrating that their concerns are heard and valued.
Striking a Balance in Academic Demands:
While it’s important to emphasize academic responsibilities, avoid making everything solely about achieving top grades. Excessive pressure can intensify anxiety and stress, potentially leading to diminished performance. Encourage a holistic approach to nurturing well-rounded individuals.
Advocating for Teen Wellness Through Lifestyle Choices:
Stress the significance of maintaining a balanced lifestyle, encompassing regular exercise, a nutritious diet, and sufficient sleep. These lifestyle elements are pivotal in managing mental health and overall well-being. Collaborate on preparing nutritious meals and convenient snacks for their busy schedules.
Cultivating Positive Social Bonds with Adolescents:
Support young people in cultivating positive social bonds with friends and expanding their social circles. Encourage participation in activities that genuinely interest them, whether it’s joining clubs, or sports teams, or engaging in community events. Social connections offer crucial support and a sense of belonging while bolstering confidence.
Equipping Teens with Problem-Solving Skills:
Empower young individuals with problem-solving abilities to tackle school-related challenges. Encourage them to break down problems into manageable steps, brainstorm solutions, and consider the potential outcomes of their decisions. Problem-solving, a core component of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), nurtures critical thinking.
Wysa’s reach extends to young people in various regions, including West London through Hammersmith, West London & Fulham Mind, and Edinburgh schools, with further expansion planned across the nation.
Notable Stressors for 13-17-Year-Olds:
- School work and exams – 69%
- Your future – 66%
- The way you look – 56%
- What people think of you – 52%
- Your money – 50%
- Your parents’ health – 50%
- Your parents’ money – 48%
- Friendships – 41%
- Your health – 41%
- War – 33%
- Your parents are not getting along well – 32%
- Your safety – 32%
- Relationships – boyfriends/girlfriends – 31%
- Climate change or environment – 30%
For the full report, please visit www.wysa.com/uk-youth-report.
Koda, a 17-year-old student, shares his personal experience with Wysa: “I discovered Wysa through a friend during a period of profound depression and suicidal thoughts. I genuinely believed there was no hope for me. Using the app, I found 24/7 support, regardless of my location or the time of day. It’s been a lifeline. I can simply pull out my phone to discuss any problems, like panic attacks. After each session with Wysa, I feel more relaxed and prepared for the day. I appreciate knowing that I won’t be judged or feel like a burden when talking to Wysa. It’s a safe outlet for me during tough times. It’s helped me get out of my depression, become more active and productive, and significantly improved my overall mood.”
About Emma Taylor:
Emma Taylor is the founder and clinical director of Digital Mentality and currently serves as the Children’s Clinical Lead at WYSA—the world’s leading AI app for mental well-being. She became a qualified mental health nurse in 2012 and has devoted her career to Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Emma has earned multiple awards for her contributions to nursing and digital innovation. As an experienced clinical innovator in digital services, she also holds the role of clinical safety officer for WYSA and leads the first NHS real-world study into the use of AI in mental health, funded by NIHR.
Wysa is a global leader in AI-driven mental health support, accessible to individuals, employer benefit programs, and healthcare services. It strives to make support readily available whenever people require it, eliminating the need for individuals to request help and making it easier for them to seek professional support. With an average improvement of 31% in depression and anxiety scores, Wysa’s AI-first approach enables individuals to enhance their mental health by understanding their unique needs and guiding them through interactive cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) exercises. Wysa’s clinically safe AI encourages users to seek additional support when needed, directing them to human coaching, employer benefit programs (EAP), or national crisis lines. Wysa has positively impacted over 5 million people through 500 million AI conversations across 90 countries.