National Stress Awareness Month has taken place every April since its first launch in 1992.
This campaign aims to highlight the causes of stress, the negative effects stress can have on the mind and body, and ways to relieve stress.
In honor of Stress Awareness Month, the National Runaway Safeline (NRS) wants to do its part in providing awareness around these issues, especially as they relate to youth and adolescence. While stress sometimes can’t be avoided, it is important for everyone to find healthy ways to manage stressors as they arise. This goes for young people, as well as adults.
How Stress Affects Youth
Many youth that connect to NRS are in crisis situations and looking for support and resources. They may be dealing with stress from a traumatic event or just expectations of daily life. There are numerous stressors that youth may be dealing with: family issues, school, peers, economic problems, or even abuse. When you consider the number of possible stressors, added to the normal challenges of being a preteen or teenager, one can understand how quickly a crisis can arise.
“I’m constantly overwhelmed with my parents and school life…” – NRS Public Forum Post
When youth connect to NRS they get a confidential listening ear who is there to not only provide support but also talk about ways they can cope. This may include discussing additional support resources to reach out to such as counselors, community organizations, or school staff. Understanding the safe resources available to them can be a wonderful way of building a support network for youth when stressful situations occur.
Let’s Talk…Stress Reduction
In the Let’s Talk: Runaway Prevention Curriculum, there is a module dedicated solely to Stress Reduction. Youth are asked to not only identify stressors but to brainstorm ways to deal with stress as it arises. Everyone has different levels of tolerance to stress and coping mechanisms that work for them. It’s important all youth get a chance to understand their specific stressors and what helps them cope. Coping skills may include activities that are physical, mental, social/emotional, and spiritual.
“I got into skateboarding a couple months back to relieve stress…” – NRS Public Forum Post
This module also focuses on the importance of learning problem-solving skills and conflict resolution and how these skills can help youth manage stressful situations.
When stress is overwhelming and teens don’t have the resources to help them cope or don’t know where to turn, a crisis can occur. Teaching youth about safe coping mechanisms and resources can help serve as a safety net for when stressors arise. The National Runaway Safeline is always available to provide support for all youth and families through its hotline (1-800-RUNAWAY) and online (1800RUNAWAY.org) services.
The Stress Reduction Module activities can be a helpful resource to facilitate with young people. This module and many other module topics are available in the free Let’s Talk: Runaway Prevention Curriculum.