Stressed Out: Learning from a ‘Teen Mental Health and Wellbeing’ Survey

1 Head Start Educational Academy, Bangalore, India

2 White Swan Foundation for Mental Health, Bangalore, India

Background: This exploratory study was planned to understand and evaluate various types of stressful situations that adolescents experience, as this is a growing concern in India. An online survey was designed to collect and assess adolescents’ views on mental health and wellbeing, factors that cause stress, their willingness and attitude towards seeking help, and the books and movies adolescents read or watch that are sources of information about mental health. Methods: The online survey was taken by 122 boys and girls aged between 13 and 19 years. This brief anonymous online survey had eight questions and typically took about three minutes to complete. Results: The results indicated that academic stress was the most prominent concern, although adolescents also reported other domains of stress. Friends were preferred confidants for their emotional difficulties. The findings illustrated a range of attitudes towards meeting a counsellor; almost a third were ambivalent, about 18 percent were unwilling, and the rest had more positive attitudes about this form of help seeking. Adolescents’ responses also demonstrated their sources of information about mental health through certain books and movies. Conclusions: These findings can increase the understanding of how adolescents experience stress and this can help in the development of programs to promote positive mental health and wellbeing for the youth.

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