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Mental illness is one of the principal causes of disability in Canada, and between 15% and 25% of young people experience a mental health issue before the age of 19. For those who do experience a mental health issue, anxiety-related disorders are the most frequently cited.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has only served to exacerbate the effects of poor mental health on the population, with the number of Canadians experiencing anxiety jumping to 20% since the pandemic began. Stress relating to the general state of affairs and increased isolation is leading to heightened anxiety levels and substance misuse issues. This means that the role of community service workers is increasingly important, as these professionals can help people experiencing mental health and addiction problems get the resources they need to recover. 

The moment when you realize how anxiety is impacting the young population, you’ll know why those in community service are needed to help mitigate the effects of mental illness. Here are some reasons why.

Why Are Young People So Anxious?

Young people have always been under a lot of pressure—pressure to succeed, to find their place in the world, to fit in, but the kinds of pressures young people face today are unique in their impacts on mental health. Students at career colleges in Calgary should know that young people are often expected to find a place for themselves in a changing world, facing high expectations from parents, teachers, and others. However, teens today face these pressures in a world of rising inequality, social unrest, and environmental issues. As a result, while adolescence has always been a time for exploration and introspection, today it is not uncommon for related emotions to manifest into something of a greater issue, such as an anxiety disorder. 

Those in community service and addictions worker training should understand that the use of social media can also worsen anxiety among young people, as it encourages teens to compare themselves to others. With an increasing amount of events, accomplishments, and pictures conveniently displayed with social media, it’s easier for young people to feel anxious and inadequate. This can lead to feelings of shame when their own lives might not match up to what they’re seeing on the internet. 

Young people may feel more pressure today, causing heightened anxiety

Young people may feel more pressure today, causing heightened anxiety

If You Have Community Service and Addictions Worker Training, You Can Help

Some common manifestations of anxiety in young people include behaviours such as avoiding social interactions and friends, constant worry about trivial problems, fear of drawing attention to oneself or panicking in situations of stress. For young people, there are many resources that can help them to cope with anxiety. These include mental health agencies and support groups. Those who have completed community service programs, equipped with training in psychology, sociology, and more, can play a vital role within agencies and organizations that provide young people with the resources to handle their anxiety. Their work is more important than ever in helping young Canadians overcome mental health challenges during difficult times. 

Do you want to work in community service and addictions?