Children's Hospital Colorado

Anxiety in Youth Can Be Fueled by Stressors Tied to Modern World

Colorado Community Media | November 22, 2016

In an article about the "anxious times" we live in, Colorado Community Media explores the causes of anxiety in youth and ways to address it.

What is anxiety, and what can cause it?

Anxiety, an emotion characterized by feelings of worry or unease, is increasingly present in many young people's lives, say school counselors and mental health experts who work with teens.

“It's a motivator, it gives us energy and keeps us safe,” said Ali Schroer, a licensed clinical social worker at Children's Hospital Colorado Therapy Care Center in Highlands Ranch. “When that alarm bell goes off more than it should, we need to figure out how to quiet it.”

A new trigger of anxiety in youth — but among the biggest, according to the article — is social media.

“If they don't get the amount of likes, they take it personally,” said Schroer, a Children's Colorado social worker who works with children and teens ages 3 to 18. “All of these internal messages go rampant.”

Children's Colorado expert provides tips on dealing with anxiety

Schroer encourages teens to identify the triggers of anxiety, which may be studying for a test, planning for prom, leaving for college or engaging in a social interaction. She also encourages a student struggling with anxiety to acknowledge one good thing about himself or herself in moments of heightened stress because, because she said teens have the most criticism of themselves.

“Anxiety is predictable,” she said. “If you know the triggers, you can plan for them.”