First…An introductory video
Each and every individual within a functioning society is heavily affected by societal and academic pressure. We can define this pressure as set expectations and standards enforced on an entire school community, and/or general society.
This pressure is so embedded in our daily life that it’s considered a luxury to have even one vacant, stress-free day.
The main issue resides with the fact that societal pressure has a gravely negative impact on the adolescent mind and can be a catalyst for several chronic mental health problems that persist during adulthood.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT ON THE ADOLESCENT MIND?
The academic competitiveness in high schools has been constantly sky-rocketing, enforcing mountains of stress on the adolescent mind, which can very well lead to a number of mental health problems. It is evident that an increase in academic stress results in an increased likelihood of developing chronic mental health problems such as critical anxiety and depression.
It has further been proven that students under this pressure perform more poorly, ergo, this stress not only affects the adolescent mind in ways that can deteriorate mental health, it also affects overall performance quality, which can cause the student to fall further down the rabbit hole, experiencing anticipatory stress due to the pressure to excel in school.
one of the primary reasons children and teens ‘grow up too fast is by projecting unfair responsibility and unrealistic standards onto them, this has a long-term negative impact on them and can even result in trauma that plays a large part in what qualities one affected by this will portray in adulthood.
Research shows that a child is greatly influenced by observing other’s actions, we can therefore deduce that the environment one is surrounded by gravely influences their behavior, therefore, the adolescent mind is likewise impacted by the surrounding environment. One’s environment can promote growing up too fast if the child or teen is in an environment surrounded by people who exercise unhealthy or more “adult” habits.
The impact of toxic stress on children and teens from a pediatric perspective – PBS News Hour
Social stigma is prejudicing and stereotyping an individual with differing physical, social, and mental conditions than what is perceived as “normal” within a society.
Social stigmatizing is a large portion of why deviating from societal standards can be a subconscious fear. We try to appeal to society’s watchful and judgmental gaze, in hopes that we blend in with other members of society to avoid being labeled as “abnormal.” These labels stemming from this stigma become very pernicious to our mental health, and most specifically the feeble adolescent mind.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, “Stigma not only affects individuals…but also the loved ones who support them often including family members..” A strong support system is one of the most crucial elements to maintain stable mental health, once the support system is also fractured, it’s highly likely that one’s mental health, especially adolescences, will rapidly deteriorate.
The student’s perspective…
According to most high school students, the leading cause for their stress seems to be school demand and frustrations, alongside managing a social life and the need to conform to societal standards to avoid alienation.
Below is a padlet I created for those of you who would like to share their own experiences being both a high school student juggling academic stress and a teenager maintaining their social life:
The call to action!
My for now response:
My response as of now is to create support groups amongst students in order to provide mental support to one another and take on the course of action in small portions.
My ideal goal is to incorporate a program into each student’s schedule to discuss the importance of self-care and to maintain positivity during these times. Students can be divided into different groups to support and encourage one another, as well as socialize with each other. Within these groups we can also allow for time to review homework and classwork, as well as become closer to one another through socialization, ultimately, relieving pressure off of the school day.
With this program implemented, this can allow to ease the pressure inflicted onto the students and allow them to become more comfortable with one another socially. Overall, this program will ease and decrease anxiety levels amongst teens via allocating more time for them to complete the work causing them this stress and pressure in an environment designed to decrease this stress.
This is a time of day that students and teens can look forward to, with this small step being able to manage anxiety levels and manage workload pragmatically, we are already instigating a change in how academic and societal pressure affects us mentally.
What can you do?
Communicate with your school director or guidance counselor, as well as people within your support group. Although a formidable step to take, it’s possible to boycott certain things that put an unethical amount of pressure on us. Potentially showcasing solidarity amongst each other to make your voice be heard within society, as well as exercise empathy with one another, and combat this issue as a unity.
Please give some feedback in the comments as well of any ideas you might like to share!
Some helpful resources: