Month: May 2013

Millennial Generation & College Stress

Caps and gowns are on.  Teens are bursting from excitement as the hours of school and homework have paid off. The band begins to play March No. 1 in D.  Graduation day is upon us!

Teens are embarking on what is considered to be one of the most important days of their life.  With college days just around the corner, teens (now a part of the “millennial” generation) are now more than ever reporting increased levels of stress. 85% of college students in 2009 said they have felt stressed in their daily lives.  Family, academics, finances, and an uncertain future are all contributing factors.

Let’s break down some of the stress factors for those millennials attending college:

– 53% of students feel relationships/dating contribute to their stress.

– 78% of students feel schoolwork contributes to their stress

– 35% of students feel physical health and 31% report mental health issues contributes to their stress.

– 67% of students feel financial worries contribute to their stress and 52% of students report the economy contributes to their stress.

So how can we help our teens graduating to prepare for the upcoming college years?

As reported by the 293 College Counseling Centers surveyed, 69% of campuses provide stress reduction programs .  Map out what physical, mental and stress reduction services are available to students on campus.  Also remember, many school-based health centers can see students up to 21 years of age!

Other ways that teens can deal with stress are:

– Stop stressing about stress: Admit that you are stressed and figure how to handle it.

– Quiet time: Find a few moments of peace.

– Food: Go eat something balanced and healthy!

– Exercise: It doesn’t have to be long!  It can be a 30-minute walk.

– Social time: Don’t forget to take a break from studying to enjoy friends.

– Fun: Schoolwork just needs to get done, so find a way to make it enjoyable!

To learn more about the stress that college students are facing these days, check out this infographic describing the statistics posted above.  View the RAAPS website to learn more about other factors that are contributors to teen stress.


Let’s Move!

President Barack Obama issued a proclamation declaring May National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. In that proclamation he calls on all Americans to make daily physical activity, sports participation and good nutrition a priority in their lives.

This makes May the perfect time for teens and families to get outside, move and decrease obesity!  You don’t have to be the star quarterback or the record breaking track star.  How about trying to find a way to decrease screen time and see who can do the most push-ups or leg lifts during a commercial break? Take the dog for a walk or get some friends together to play a game of basketball. Physical activity can help build lean muscle, reduce fat, and promote strong bone, muscle and joint development.  Equally as important, physical activity can help prevent obesity.  This is a growing concern for today’s teens.

According to the American Obesity Association, about 30.4 percent of teenagers are overweight, and 15.5 percent of teens are obese.  The CDC states that childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years.

The American Obesity Association identifies the concerns parents have regarding teen obesity:

  • – 12 percent of parents feel their children are overweight
  • – 78 percent feel that P.E. classes should not be removed from school curriculum
  • – 27 percent of parents feel teens today eat less nutritiously than they did
  • – 24 percent of today’s parents feel teens get less physical exercise

Even if teens are reluctant to get moving, they will notice if parents do.

Although physical activity is one way to beat obesity, there are many other ways that teens can manage it.  Try changing eating habits like eating slowly and developing a routine.  Planning your meals is another option.  Eat as a family instead of while watching television or at the computer!  Get some other ideas on the Let’s Move website.

What can we do for teens to help make the healthy choice, the easy choice?


Teen Pregnancy & Alcohol

May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month & April was Alcohol Awareness Month.  To celebrate these months, we welcome our first guest blog post from St. Jude Retreats.

Teen pregnancy and alcohol often go hand in hand. When you drink alcohol you can often times lose your inhibitions, leading you to be careless about making responsible choices that could impact your future. Maybe a teen who typically chooses to use a condom would be way less carefree about using protection while under the influence of alcohol and as a result they may not use anything and risk the chance of becoming pregnant.

If you’re a teen and are currently engaging in drinking alcohol there are a few precautions you can take to avoid teen pregnancy.

1. If you’re sexually active and often drink at parties it may be in your best interest to get on a form of contraception either birth control pills or by using condoms. Today, most birth control is at a very low cost or sometimes free to a teen.

This way, if you do become sexually active while under the influence you will be protected almost 99% from pregnancy. It’s important to know that birth control does not guarantee that you will not get pregnant or protect you from Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD). You should always talk with your physician about side effects of taking birth control.

2. Avoid taking drinks from strangers, or putting yourself in dangerous situations. You may be thinking to yourself that this suggestion is common sense but statistics from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy reveal that 60% of teen pregnancies today are from the act of rape. These statistics are not meant to scare you, but to rather prepare you to stay safe in situations where alcohol can be used as the main component to the rapist’s plan. There are certain drugs commonly referred to as “date rape drugs” that can be slipped into a drink and quickly dissolved. No matter if it is a stranger or a boy from study hall, you should avoid drinking alcoholic drinks that you did not pour or mix yourself. If you know someone who has been sexually abused or raped, it is best to call your local authorities immediately.

3. Lastly, you should make sure that you fully understand the consequences of drinking before you start practicing drinking and sexual intercourse together. Pregnancy will completely change your life and if you’re a young teen you will certainly not be prepared. Your life will take a new turn that may include missing out of some important milestones in your life such as graduating high school, attending college, your friends may avoid you, and most importantly you will be responsible for a new life. There are many other serious consequences of teen pregnancy.

The consequences of drinking could at times be just as life changing as early pregnancy. Regardless of the consequences, the choice to partake in these events are yours, but being prepared and educated is a responsible way to start to plan for your college and adult years. If you’re experiencing any of these issues it may be best to talk to a parent or guardian who can further help you make the right choices through your teen years.

Melissa currently writes for St. Jude Retreats, a non 12 step alternative to traditional alcohol and drug rehab. As well as writing for St. Jude’s, Melissa also enjoys blogging about health and relationships.


Our Cause – Our Challenge!

If you believe in the value of pediatric vaccinations – give us just two more minutes of your time:

As you may have guessed, we are passionate about reducing health risk behaviors in adolescents here at RAAPS.  But before you can reduce risk – you must first identify it.  Unfortunately, risk screening is not yet standard practice among those serving our adolescent population. In healthcare we advocate the adoption of evidence-based practices that prevent avoidable illness – take vaccinations as a case in point:

We have adopted the standardized practice of pediatric vaccination because they help prevent avoidable illness and death.

So…let’s compare some numbers:

450-500 lives lost annually because of the measles (1950s) 4600 lives lost each year to teen suicide
Polio crippled around 35,000 people each year  (1950s) About 12,000 youth infected with HIV annually
Up to 200,000 cases of diphtheria per year (1920s) 228,000  15- to 20-year-old drivers injured in vehicle crashes last year
As many as 300,000 mumps cases reported every year (1960s) 329,797  babies were born to teens aged 15–19 years

Standardized risk assessments help prevent avoidable illness and death in adolescents.

With 75% of all illness and death in the teen population attributable to preventable risk behaviors we believe this is an issue that cannot be ignored.

Please join us in a call to action for all professionals working with adolescents to ensure that all teens in your population are screened with a standardized assessment on their first visit, annually and when presenting at-risk behaviors.  You make a real difference in the lives of teens.

Learn more about the RAAPS screening tool by visiting our website, leave a comment below, or write us an email! Join our cause and increase screening for teens!

Celebrating the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Today we are celebrating the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.  Our goal is to focus on teens and the importance of avoiding too-early pregnancy and parenthood through sharing a variety of resources and data.

What does the data tell us?  Our teen pregnancy rate has declined by over 42%  and the teen birth rates have been cut nearly in half.  Although great news, we must do more. The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate among comparable countries.  According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, nearly 3 in 10 girls in the U.S. will get pregnant by the age 20. More than 2,000 teen girls in the United States get pregnant every day. Our participation in the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy hopes to offer teens the opportunity to think carefully about risky behaviors, sex, contraception and the possibility of pregnancy.

Resources for teens, parents and those working with youth:

  • –  Teens nationwide can participate in the online quiz, which challenges them to think carefully about what they might do “in the moment” though a series of interactive scenarios.  Teens can insert themselves and their friends directly into the quiz by creating personalized avatars (a graphical representation of the user).
  • –  Adults agree that teen pregnancy is a problem.  View this informative infographic to learn more.
  • –  Want to talk about teen pregnancy with teens, but don’t know where to start? Use the National Day discussion guide to start a conversation about sex, love, relationships, and teen pregnancy!