According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 1 in 3 teenagers from 13 to 18 years will experience an anxiety disorder. These numbers have been rising steadily since 2007.
The reasons for this increase in anxiety have to do with high expectations and pressure to succeed. “A survey conducted every year by Higher Education Research asks incoming college freshmen if they feel overwhelmed by all they have to do. In 2016, 41% of students said "yes", compared with 28% in 2000 and 18% in 1985.” Other reasons for anxiety include health safety concerns that have developed because of the pandemic and the rise of school shootings in recent years. Lastly, social media can cause anxiety for students because of the constant pressure to showcase the perfect lifestyle.
This article presents a case study of a teenager struggling with anxiety. It highlights some common symptoms for parents and teachers to be watchful for and how the teen found help through using a digital mental health app. The case study involves a fictitious identity; any resemblance to a real person is completely coincidental.
Laura is a 15 year old teenager that appears withdrawn and uneasy. She is preoccupied with worries about losing control and social competence. She is constantly complaining about having headaches and is tired all the time. Laura feels misunderstood and is sick of feeling anxious. In order to diminish feelings of anxiety, she uses alcohol to cope. Laura is in need of an understanding adult that can help her manage these tough emotions. Unfortunately, the school counselors at her school are understaffed so she is only able to meet with her counselor once every two weeks. Laura’s counselor Jenny recognizes that she needs more support between appointments and asks Laura if she would be willing to join Neolth, a digital mental health app.
Neolth is an app that helps counselors keep track of their students between appointments. While it's not a replacement for therapy, counselors use Neolth to monitor student stress levels, health symptoms, and level of engagement in mental health activities (SEL practices, psycho-education, and self-care). Counselors can encourage students to set weekly health goals and check if students have been meeting them. All of these activities on Neolth are self-guided, so counselors don’t need to do anything except tell their students about the app. Students have access to relaxation and SEL practices such as mindfulness, creative art, cognitive behavioral therapy, and breathing exercises. They also can use Neolth’s community section, which includes educational videos about mental health, student videos about their lived experiences, livestream events, and real-time crisis care referral.
Through the app, Laura finds out which modality works best for her: she tries journaling, meditation and art and finds she prefers writing and art as a creative outlet for stress relief. She finds connection and understanding through watching her peers discuss their shared struggles with mental health. Laura watches Neolth's addiction videos to help her understand how to have a healthy relationship with substances. These videos encourage her to speak to her school counselor Jenny about her use of alcohol.
Jenny recommends Laura start using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques on the Neolth app to help her manage her cravings. Laura not only feels supported through her one on one sessions with her school counselor, she also receives self-guided help between sessions through the Neolth app.
Laura now has access to a program that teaches her positive coping skills, allows her to track and gain insight about her stress & alcohol use, and reduces stigma by letting her know that she isn’t alone. Jenny is able to keep up with Laura’s progress by receiving real-time, remote updates through Neolth’s counselor platform. After 8 weeks on Neolth, Laura starts to reduce her alcohol use, improve her understanding of mental health and positive coping skills and her anxiety becomes manageable. With the help of digital health, it’s a win for the student and school!
Neolth was built by healthcare and education professionals, in partnership with 250 students. Neolth’s comprehensive digital platform provides stress and mental health support by delivering on-demand, personalized care through their self-guided program. Learn more in this 2-minute explainer video or by contacting our team of education professionals at firstname.lastname@example.org