Innovative, recreational, stress relief youth empowerment strategies
Stress in young people is increasing at an alarming rate. All those in contact with teenagers have witnessed the increasing pressures placed on this age group, often without an increase in the support available to them. High and continuous stress is overwhelming for children and adolescents and it often has negative effects on their physical, emotional and mental health.
According to the World Health Organisation, 10-20% of children and adolescents experience a diagnosable mental illness worldwide. 50% of these mental illnesses begin by the age of 14 and 75% by mid 20s. At the European level, in the top 5 causes of illnesses among youth are depression and anxiety. In low and middle-income countries suicide is the first cause for death among youngsters between 10-19 years old. In high-income countries, suicide is the second cause leading to death.
Causes of this phenomenon are fears and dilemmas coming up in their trek to adulthood, peer pressure, adults pressure, stress induced by the educational system, competitive society and the need to succeed pressure. Long term stress not attended turns into burnout which can manifest in a variety of signs and symptom such as poor energy, negative changes in behaviour, acting irritable or moody, withdrawing from activities that used to give them pleasure, routinely expressing worries, complaining more than usual about the school, crying, displaying surprising fearful reactions, clinging to a parent or teacher, sleeping too much or too little, or eating too much or too little, significantly avoiding parents, abandoning long-time friendships for a new set of peers or expressing excessive hostility toward family members.
Burnout effects may lead to serious consequences: health problems, lack of motivation and involvement, school dropout, conflicts, juvenile crime. Youth Stress and burnout are not enough taken seriously by youth themselves, by parents, educators or health professionals even if relief measures can bring important positive consequences on youth well being, school performances, relationships, family life, future.