Anxiety In Teenagers


by Billy Porto

Purpose Statement

The purpose of my Catalyst Conference project is to create awareness for the growing problem of anxiety in teenagers in the New Haven area. I have a personal connection to this issue for multiple reasons. First being that I am a highschool student who knows the many pressures a teenager can experience in academics, athletics, and socially. These can become overwhelming very easily and I can understand how this could be too much for an individual to handle. In addition, a close friend of mine suffers with anxiety disorder and I had a first hand view of what anxiety can do to a teenager who is feeling immense amounts of pressure. My experiences with my friend left me with a desire to help not only him, but all people with anxiety. However, I did not know how to. I reached out to my school physiatrist, Dr. Thomas Fahy, to find out more about anxiety and how to help. Through my discussion and interview with Dr. Fahy and research conducted using credible, scholarly sources I have been able to learn a lot about how mentally taxing it can be for teens with anxiety to handle the many responsibilities that come with being in high school.


Anxiety is the most common mental-health disorder in the United States. Anxiety affects nearly one-third of both children and adults, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The amount of pressure that is being put onto teenagers is increasing. From getting into a top college, athletics, and other extracurricular activities to meeting social standards, and understanding sexual changes teenagers are given an overwhelming amount of tasks. This can very intimidating for a teenager who is getting their first taste of true independent responsibility and commonly can result in the teenager suffering with anxiety disorder. However, due to social stigmas and a lack of education on mental disorders, 80 percent of teens with anxiety disorder do not end up receiving treatment that could provide them with major relief. This is a concerningly high percentage and shows that on both a local and national scale, teenagers are not receiving the proper aid in their battles with anxiety disorder.

The video above is a TED Talk conducted by a high school junior who discusses the stress that both herself and her peers experience in their day to day lives. This video shows how heavy the stress and anxiety teens struggle with hangs on them and is causing self harm and suicidal thoughts in some cases. This is why we need to take action and begin to help teenagers.

How We Can Help

We need to raise awareness that anxiety is a real mental disorder that many teenagers suffer from and what the symptoms and warning signs of the disorder are. Sharing posters such as those featured below around high schools and recreational centers in local towns will hopefully encourage teens who have anxiety to seek help.

In addition to raising awareness of symptoms, we need to provide the teenagers with resources that they can use if they want help with their anxiety. This includes seeking out a friend, school faculty/counselor, or psychiatrist to discuss what is causing anxiety. Also there are a number of different foundations that provide useful resources for those suffering from anxiety. Some of them are: Associations for Anxiety Disorders, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Anxiety in Teens.

Work Cited

“Children and Teens.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA,

Aacap. Your Adolescent – Anxiety and Avoidant Disorders,

Teens, Anxiety in, and Anxiety In Teens. “Home.” Anxiety in Teens, 21 Apr. 2019,

Talks, TEDx. “Teen Stress from a Teen Perspective | Michaela Horn | TEDxNaperville.” YouTube, YouTube, 13 Dec. 2017,

Share this project
  1. April 25, 2019 by Kim Porto

    You have included a lot of useful information in your presentation. It is so important to help students manage their anxiety in their high school years.
    Mrs. Porto

  2. April 25, 2019 by Anika Stenberg

    Hi Billy,
    I found this topic very interesting, especially coming from a teens perspective. I would be interested in finding out what percent of these students are actually seeking/receiving help concerning their anxiety. This seems to be a common problem- I wonder what we could do specifically to lower rates of anxiety?

  3. April 26, 2019 by Jaren.Manivong

    I was wondering, how many teens do you estimate to have a stance of ‘once I do this my anxiety will go away’ and how do you think this mindset affects teens with anxiety, as it is something of a vicious cycle.

  4. April 26, 2019 by William Le Clercq

    Billy this is a very interesting topic and prevalent for all of us who are teenagers. Thank you so much for sharing. Some of the sources you used I have seen in the past when I had to do research on anxiety and find them very reliable. I wonder if there is even a way to lower anxiety with the pressure to succeed increasing?

  5. April 26, 2019 by Jack Wilcox

    Billy, I liked your project and how you displayed everything. It was very informative and useful. Your topic is also very important and its good to hear it coming from a teens perspective. Good work!

  6. April 26, 2019 by Melissa Hudson

    Billy, Thanks for sharing your information about this troubling problem. I thought the Ted talk was very good, and I hope students who are suffering will understand the importance of seeking help.
    Mrs. Hudson

  7. April 27, 2019 by Tom Iampietro

    Good Stuff. Thoughtful. Well Documented. Useful. Obviously an important topic and you do a very nice job commenting on its complexities. Well Done, my Friend!!!!

  8. April 28, 2019 by Lauren Mazza

    Nice job, I think this issue is very important and needs to be talked about more. I liked how you made it personal and showed how important this is for you.

  9. April 28, 2019 by Brennan.Benson

    This article was very enlightening. I had no idea that anxiety is the most common mental-health disorder in the United States. Good to know I’m not the only one! I think that you were spot on when you said that growing responsibilities and new experiences of teenagers are major causes of anxiety. What are the “social stigmas” that you mentioned that prevent teenagers from getting help?

  10. April 29, 2019 by Kirsten.Mettler

    i didn’t know that anxiety was that common! I think projects like this are really great at fighting the social stigmas you talk about: if people knew how common anxiety is maybe they would be less afraid of talking about their own issues. Have you heard about some of the research on social media and anxiety? Great project.

  11. April 30, 2019 by Jeffrey.Zhu

    Great project! I really liked how clear your project was. The information you included was very useful and important. I also really liked your infographics, both had a good amount of information and were very visual pleasing. I also thought your choice of the ted talk was very good.

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