September 15, 2015 7:11 pm
Updated: September 15, 2015 7:33 pm

New national survey finds nearly half of teenagers stressed out

A country-wide survey has found that nearly have of teenagers are stressed out. The Kids Help Phone Survey also found it only gets worse as they go through their later teen years. Christina Stevens reports.

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TORONTO — A national survey conducted by Kids Help Phone has revealed a high level of stress among teenagers.

The survey found 42 per cent of teens are stressed, and that increases to 50 percent by the time they hit 18.

It also looked at how they cope with stress — 63 per cent of teens surveyed said they talk to their mother compared to 35 per cent going to their father.

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READ MORE: Mental health report warns of stress, suicide risk in Canada

But as they get older, they are less likely to confide in either. Instead they turn to their boyfriend or girlfriend.

One in five teenagers felt they had no one to talk to. These are the most vulnerable ones, according to Sharon Wood, president of Kids Help Phone.

“Those young people are far more likely to experience violence at home, suicidal thoughts and emotional difficulties,” said Wood, adding that it’s important to keep the lines of communication open.

Patrick Carney, the President of the Association of Chief Psychologists with Ontario School Boards, said parents have to make a point of sitting down and listening.

“Saying, ‘How are things going?’ and let the conversation go to the point, with listening, that the child will talk,” he said.

“You can have gentle questions along the way about, ‘Is anything stressing you out’ or, ‘If you ever what to chat with me we can do that.”

The survey also addressed how teens communicate with friends about stress.

The most, 54 per cent, preferred texting. Face-to-face conversations and connecting through social media were also important tools.

Students at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute have been learning how to cope with stress through a special program called “Breathing Room.”

Dani Harris leads her students through breathing exercises, teaching them about mindfulness and being in the moment.

“How are you feeling in your body, how are you feeling in your mind how are you feeling emotionally?” are among the questions she poses to teens to get them to focus on themselves.

 She said it helps them take a pause and learn to respond to things instead of reacting.

The students said it has made a big difference.

“When I took my first deep breaths and did it over and over again, it felt relaxing,” said Inshal Ali, a Grade 12 student.

His classmate Caitlyn Leatherdale agreed.

“Just taking a few breaths stops everthing around you and gets yourself back on track.”

© 2015 Shaw Media

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