In response to a recent study that found young people are suffering from greater stress than other generations, Boston University officials said they are working hard to recognize and minimize stress on campus.
“Depending on the disorder, stress can influence mental health, with hypertension for example,” said Todd Falchione of BU’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders. “If the stressors aren’t dealt with then that’s problematic. It’s normal to have stress for a short period of time, but for chronic stress, that could lead to many more problems.”
Thirty-five percent of people nationwide reported increased stress levels between August 2011 and August 2012, according to a study published Thursday by Stress in America, a branch of the American Psychological Association. People between the ages of 18 and 33 had a higher average level of stress than other age groups.
While the average stress level, measured on a 10-point scale, was reported to be 4.9, the average stress level for young people — commonly referred to as Millennials — was 5.4, according to the study.
Of the total survey respondents, 1,424 of the 2,020 reported suffering from one or more physical heath problems related to stress disorders, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, heart attacks, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety and obesity, according to the study.
Falchione said BU’s CARD helps individuals of all ages with anxiety disorders and associated symptoms by providing treatments and research.
In today’s economic and political climate, increases in resource prices and decreases in job opportunities and pay can cause youths great levels of stress, Falchione said.
“There is truly an economic crisis,” Falchione said. “People are not finding jobs, and you have these successive generations of graduates and more people looking … That particular age group is going to suffer even more because of this.”
Coordinator for the Office of Wellness and Prevention Services Katharine Mooney said there are several on-campus resources available to BU students who feel overstressed.
“We provide group workshops and student ambassadors as peer educators and stress buddies to help students identify their stress and effectively manage it,” Mooney said.
Mooney said Student Health Services offers stress management advice, including fact sheets, clips, podcasts related to stress and mental health and blog posts on SpreadtheHealthBU.com.
“We have dozens of web-based resources on stress management on the SHS website,” she said. “We also partnered with Mugar [Memorial Library] during finals to help with their dog therapy event.”
Bora Yavuz, a School of Management freshman, said some students overload on clubs and extracurricular commitments on top of their classes to build their resumes, which causes them stress.
“It just depends on how much you enjoy it and the belief that it’ll benefit you in the future,” Yavuz said. “You shouldn’t overload and do more than you know you can, though.”
Kirsten Johnson, a College of Communication junior, said since BU supplies students with stress management resources, it is up to the students to reach out for help.
“I know people who want to go to SHS for stress but they just don’t have the time,” she said. “Taking a break, even if only for half an hour, to watch a show or meet with friends can help with stress. Just schedule down time to be with people.”