Stress is having a major impact on every sector of the community. Amongst those in affluent jobs, it is a combination of overwork and loss of “work life balance”. Those who are less affluent are often stressed by the high cost of living compared to low incomes. Lack of social support and an emphasis on consumerism are major contributors.
What is surprising however is the rising levels of stress amongst school-aged young people. When I work with young people in schools I am frequently surprised by the number of hands that go up when I ask “who feels stressed out?” or “who finds it difficult to get to sleep at night because you can’t stop thinking?”.
The Mission Australia Survey of 43,000 young people indicates that these personal experiences are probably representative of what is going on throughout Australia.
“Concern around coping with stress has increased by close to 23per cent since the 2009 survey while school/study problems has jumped by more than 22 per cent with the greatest increase among 15-19 year olds. We often overlook the large number of demands young people face these days: everything from personal relationships to the expectations of parents, peers, schools, the wider community and young people themselves.”
How do we stop our young people from being consumed by a social phenomena that we have created? At the 2012 Generation Next Mental Health and Wellbeing Seminar series I explore the scientific evidence from our Australian research evaluating the positive impact of brief meditation sessions in schools. The results are impressive and we are developing a non-profit, low/zero cost set of resources based on this research. I hope to see you there!