Stress and the Strong Young Women
Over the years in our practice at Mind Body Health Associates, we have noticed patterns that comes with the beginning of the school year. One consistency is the increased number of calls to our office from concerned and loving parents, regarding his/her teenaged daughter. Often, this girl is intelligent, scoring top grades in her classes. She is active in sports and/or music and other extra-curricular activities. She might have a summer or after-school job and she likely volunteers or participates in service-based or religious organizations. Regularly, the parent will say, “she’s the last girl that a person would think needs therapy.”
A young girl’s drive to be the best on the field or in the classroom can serve as a positive source of stress, and the rewards of success fuel continued efforts. However, if the weight of expectations settles in over long amounts of time, motivating pressure becomes chronic stress, which impairs a person’s ability to think and perform, on top of the physical manifestations, such as reduced sleep quality and quantity, change of appetite, headaches, or other symptoms that seem “strange” or “random” when in the doctor’s office.
The rise in stress levels of teenage girls is happening across the country and catching the eyes of researchers in the world of mental health. NPR reported, “Between 2005 and 2014, the scientists found, rates of depression went up significantly — if extrapolated to all U.S. teens it would work out to about a half million more depressed teens. What’s more, three-fourths of those depressed teens in the study were girls.” UC Berkely’s Greater Good Institute revealed, “The number of kids and teens being treated for depression has doubled in the past five years; a quarter of teenagers felt “sad or depressed every day for two or more weeks” at least once during the previous year.”
Holly Schweitzer Dunn, LISW, and Jayne Williams, LPCC, LICDC, are partnering with the Findlay Family YMCA to host a workshop on the topics of high performing teenage girls and managing stress associated with an active lifestyle. The event, slated for 4:00 PM, Sunday, September 17 at the Findlay Family YMCA, will welcome teen girls (ages 14-19) and their parents or caregivers. Holly and Jayne have a combined 45 years of experience helping teenagers and families cope with the mental and emotional effects of stress and promote a lifestyle of wellbeing, addressing anxiety and depression along with personal areas of expertise. Holly has a long history of treating eating disorders, trauma, and behavioral disorders while Williams’ experience addresses addictions of many forms, along with family dynamics. Jayne, whose youngest daughter recently launched into college, adds a personal experience to her clinical expertise.
Together, the counselors will help participants identify the way stress affects daily living, help name stressors, and give tools to help alleviate thoughts, fears, and behaviors associated with the rise in depression and anxiety in this particularly susceptible group. Teens will have time with the counselor without parents to feel free to ask questions and speak honestly about their struggles. Parents and adults who work with teen girls will have a chance to learn from a counselor how to help girls manage expectations in a healthy way.
You can pre-register for the event online. Walk-in participants will be welcome as space allows. Students and parents are welcome to attend alone, but benefits increase as a family shares in perspective and approach the issues from a similar starting point.