5 reasons why teens are more open about mental health

Teens today are more comfortable seeking help from therapists.

Imagine walking up to your parents one day and blurting out the words, “I need to speak to a therapist”. But imagine you said this maybe 20/30 years in the past. In most cases, this statement would have received its fair share of confusion.

Fortunately for us, it’s not so taboo anymore. The world is becoming a complex place to be in. And we as individuals are more complex than our previous generations. Our lives are getting more stressful with all the choices in front of us. And mental health conversations are getting so much louder!

As internal and external stressors continue to increase, especially among teenagers, so do mental health concerns. Coping with education, cyberbullying, body image, physical health are just a few stressors teens face on a day-to-day basis. Ultimately, these stressors slowly and steadily build up, get bottled up and finally show up as psychological concerns such as anxiety or depression.

Mental health is no longer an uncommon scenario. More and more teens & adults are voicing their troubles and seeking the help they need when they need it. In fact, according to the WHO, 10-20% of children and adolescents experience mental health conditions. Half of all mental health conditions start by the age of 14. But what about today’s times has changed the way teens view their mental wellbeing? Let’s find out.

Increased awareness

Over the years, the awareness surrounding mental health has grown considerably. What was once ignored is now being recognized as a problem and treated accordingly. Spreading awareness about mental health, understanding that therapy is not a bad word and accepting mental health as just as important as physical health are a few factors that have helped enable this.

It’s important to note here that today’s teens are more vocal, they’re able to properly explain and understand patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviours. They’ve decoded their inner workings and much of this can be credited to our next reason, access to social media and the internet. 

Social media & the internet

It may seem insignificant but social media has played a tremendous role in helping teens open up about their mental health. It has helped normalize mental health problems and reduced stigma through interconnectedness and shared understanding. Teens no longer feel isolated because others are experiencing the same things they are. 

While social media and the internet at large have been known to be the cause of anxiety, depression and several other issues – there’s no denying that it helps bring awareness today as well. Moreover, these networks have given teens access to not just people but organisations who work on mental health concerns, inform abundantly and help find resolutions for them too. 

More open conversations 

A big part of being open about your mental health is having open, real, honest conversations with those you trust and love. Phrases like “I’m too stressed” or “I’m really anxious today” are now a part of daily jargon. It’s an accepted state of mind and not an uncommon one either. The bigger concern here is finding the right person to talk to. For those who don’t feel as comfortable speaking to their parents or caretakers, there’s now access to therapists, organizations and professionals who they can speak to. 

Destigmatization

Overall, the increased awareness and access to information have helped lessen the stigma surrounding mental health. In a positive shift in mindset, we see that teens are not the only ones asking for help but parents are able to recognize when their kids require the help too. Unlike Millennials and Gen X’ers, who belonged to a generation where mental health problems were never discussed, today’s Gen Zs are part of a cohort who don’t feel that same stigma.

Celebrity intervention

From Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez to Simone Biles and Lady Gaga – several public figures have made mental health conversations a lot easier. They’ve spoken out about their struggles and normalised their battles, encouraging many teens to be braver and more open about their struggles. We can’t disagree that this has helped teens feel a lot more heard as they associate with their favourite celebrities, and by extension with their struggles too.

The final take

Since the pandemic, the world has been facing a collective trauma together. Everyone has felt its impact in many ways, from physical to mental. More and more people have come to terms with their mental health struggles and have felt comforted in the empathy that followed. Rather than whispering about it behind closed doors, today mental health is discussed in the same way that one would talk about daily chores like making a meal or brushing your teeth. 

That said, we’re still a long, long way down the road from making mental health a part & parcel of everyone’s daily life. Yes, everyone! While it may sound like the only people who require mental health support are those undergoing some form of trauma or difficulty only, it’s far from the best-case scenario. Mental health is for everyone and could literally be about absolutely nothing in particular.

10 Teenpreneurs who’re changing the world with their ideas

teenpreneurs

Age is just a number when you are filled with passion. This fact doesn’t only apply to old age. Teenpreneurs from across the world are defying the notions of age too.

Building and running a business is often considered to be the job of someone experienced. People don’t take teenagers seriously or believe they can have the skills to run a successful business.

If you also think a teenager cannot become an entrepreneur, you’re mistaken.

You may lack experience, but you certainly don’t lack ideas, creativity, and a fearless attitude. Your innovative mind and the desire to do something are enough to put you in the shoes of an entrepreneur.

Don’t believe it? 

Let’s introduce you to some of the teenpreneurs rocking the world of entrepreneurship. They have not only made a mark with their innovative ideas but also earned millions. From healthcare to fashion, no field is untouched by these teenage entrepreneurs. 

Read on for some inspiring tales of teenprenuers who are changing the world with their ideas. The future might be waiting for you to be on this list.

Nikhiya Shamsher: Fighting Oral Cancer with QuitPuff

Teenpreneurs

14-year-old Nikhiya of Bengaluru was left shaken by the plight of an oral cancer survivor. It led her to find the real reason for the high mortality rate among oral cancer patients: delay in detection. Moreover, these patients had to bear a lot of physical, emotional, and financial stress.

To solve this grave problem, she went on to invent a low-cost device called QuitPuff, which can detect the risk of developing oral cancer.

Initially, her project wasn’t taken seriously because she was ‘young’, but she kept trying. She has tested the device in hospitals and keeps working on improving the device to launch it in the market. She has also received many awards and research grants that help her sustain the project.

Langston Whitlock: Helping Elderly Have a Safe Trip

After learning that the homeless and elderly were facing transportation problems to get to medical appointments, Langston got the idea of building the ride-sharing app, SafeTrip, in 2018.

His app lets patients, caretakers, and healthcare providers book medical transportation. Moreover, the payment for the rides can also be made using insurance. Safe Trip has raised $2.3 million in funding and crossed revenue of $3.4 million.

Now 20 years old, Langston leads a team of people older than him. His company not only provides safe and affordable rides but also trains high school seniors to become SafeTrip drivers after graduation.

Sreelakshmi Suresh: Hobby to Web Design Agency

Designing websites used to be a hobby for 11-year-old Sreelakshmi. She decided to turn it into a full-fledged business and founded eDesign Technologies. 

Starting from the website for her school, she has designed websites for over 250 clients over 8 years. Her clientele includes some reputed names. Her business thrives mainly from word-of-mouth. 

Femi Adebogun: Simplifying Scholarships Application

Financing education is a big problem in the USA, and Femi took it upon himself to solve it. He founded ScholarMe, at 16, to simplify how high school and college students paid their tuition fees.

His website allows students to apply for all their financial aid at a single place that too cost-effectively. So far, his company has got funds of $4.2 million from 8 investors.

Interestingly, he hired remote employees and tried to hide his age, but eventually, they found out when the company won an award.

Hriday Dhand: Caring for the Health of Vegans

13-year-old Hriday from a family of vegans got concerned about the lack of critical nutritional values in their diet. After some research, he came up with the idea for his nutritional supplement product, Strength-O-Seeds. 

His product, made from dried fruits and seeds, aims to help vegans fulfil their daily protein and other nutrients requirements. He has also discussed his business plan with the chairman of the Marico group (a leading consumer goods brand).

Erin Smith: Small Observation to Big Idea

teenpreneurs

While watching a video, 16 years old, Erin observed something that would shape FacePrint.

She noticed that Parkinson’s patients’ laughs or smiles seem emotionally distant. This led her to build FacePrint – a diagnostic system that captures changes in facial expressions to diagnose and monitor disorders like Parkinson’s.

Her technology is undergoing clinical trials at Stanford University. She has also received support and funding from some pharmaceutical companies. 

Brandon and Sebastian Martinez: Socking Millions

11-year-old Sebastian’s obsession with patterned socks gave birth to Are You Kidding Socks. The Martinez brothers started designing socks and, with the help of their mother, found a manufacturer. 

Their socks became a hit and even made them appear on the show Good Morning America. The company sold $1 million worth of socks. They also launched a Charity Socks collection which shares a portion of sales with charitable partners.

Their future plans include the expansion of their business to manufacturing t-shirts, hats, and shoes.

Ananya Gupta: Driving Change with Grit Parity

Karnataka-based high school student Ananya is a gender equality advocate. Her observation that there is a lack of equal gender representation in school textbooks led her to build a tool called Grit Parity.

Grit Parity is a platform where you can upload your textbook to check whether the book has equal gender representation. Her goal is to ensure the education system facilitates gender equality not just in India but the world over. 

She has also received funding from Amazon Web Services and plans to expand her work internationally.

Kenan Pala: Creating Impact through Kids4Community

Kenan from San Diego has been passionate about helping others. He was surprised to find that he could not volunteer for a lot of causes as he was underage. Like him, many other kids also wanted to volunteer. 

He took the matter into his own hands and founded his non-profit organisation Kids4Community, where any kid can volunteer. So far, he has raised over $1 million from charitable events, corporates donations for various causes to support the community.

He plans to hand over the organisation to his younger brother once he enrols in college.

Ayushi Aggarwal: Making STEM Accessible 

16-year-old Ayushi is the founder of an international non-profit organisation Unknown16. Her organisation runs projects to help young girls and underprivileged children develop a passion for STEM subjects.

Unknown16 encourages children to develop ideas to solve social issues and become leaders of tomorrow. Ayushi has also been invited to speak at the UN Climate Action Summit and gained support for her initiative all over.

Sky’s the limit for you

All these teenprenuers are proof that you have all the power to achieve whatever you want. 

From making a difference in the world to making profits, your passion and your ideas have all it takes to build your career as an entrepreneur. So, what are you waiting for?

Start connecting with other teens who are passionate about entrepreneurship on Power Club today!

The 7-step guide to becoming a better decision-maker

Hold up! Did you hesitate for a second (or five) before opening this link? Do the smallest of conundrums sometimes look like big problems? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to teenage decision making & problem solving for teens 101!

Your teenage years can be quite a jar full of pickles. There are just so many things that you have to juggle, all at once — studies, friendships, relationships, getting that perfect Instagram photo, et al. So much to do, so little time. And it doesn’t help when everyone is always reminding you that the decisions you make today will define the rest of your life. 

In times like these, all big-small choices look like daunting decisions. And that can be scary, sometimes. So here’s a handy guide to help polish your decision-making skills!

How to make a decision

It’s always good to have a handy framework of decision-making life skills. Here’s a comprehensive 7-step guide to help you with it:

Step 1: Ask yourself what the question is

Sometimes we get so tangled up in a problem that we forget what the question was in the first place. So the first part of making an important decision is to take a step back and ask yourself: what’s the question? Think about the situation, what’s being asked of you and even what tools you need to make a decision. Problem-solving for teens begins with understanding the problem.

Step 2: Analyse the impact of this decision

Whether you need to decide what to order for dinner or which subjects to specialize in at school, all decisions have consequences. Of course, some have more lasting results than others, which may not be evident to us at the moment. Evaluate the consequences that this particular decision will have in your life. Does this decision only impact day-to-day activities, or does it affect your life’s big picture too? Also, think about how this decision impacts the lives of those around you, especially your family and friends.

Step 3: List down all possible choices

What choices do you have on the plate? Is this decision a binary choice question or one with far too many possible answers? Is the question even objective, or like literature, are there no right or wrong answers? Take stock of all the possible choices that you have before choosing one of them. Feel free to be as creative as you want in this step. Just remember that there are no bad options/answers here, the more, the merrier. Fun fact: 90% of teenage decision-making is just about being open to various options.

Step 4: Analyse the short & long term effect of each choice

Before you make any decision, it’s essential to understand your choices. Research as much as you can about what each of those choices entails. Make Google your best friend (if it isn’t already), visit your nearest library if you like and basically try it all. You should also talk to people who have taken a similar path in life or made similar choices to get their perspective too. And hey, don’t forget to take LOTS of notes!

Step 5: Make a pros & cons list

This may be the oldest trick in the book, but there’s a reason this trick has survived the test of time! Navigating the risk and uncertainty that every choice entails is important, but so is recognizing the rewards that come with them. More often than not, we tend to focus on only one of them. Thus, making a balanced list of the benefits and drawbacks of each choice that you have becomes imperative!

Step 6: Crunch the data 

Here comes the most crucial step of all: making the actual decision. So far, you’ve rationalized the problem, analyzed your choices and contextualized it with data or lists. All that’s left to do is evaluate the pros & cons list — one last time — to settle on the best possible option. More often than not, your gut knows what the right choice is so just listen to it. Talk to your parents, teachers, friends, well-wishers and take their advice too but remember, the final choice is yours to make.

Step 7: Take a deeeeep breath and follow-through

What’s important to remember is that no decision is too big to be irreversible. So pause, take a couple of deep breaths, center yourself and most importantly, believe in the decision that you have made. You’ve got this!

We hope this step-by-step process answers your questions about how to make a decision. Teenage decision-making can be a tricky business. Just follow a framework and your decision-making life skills will get razor-sharp over time! And it really helps to connect with like-minded peers and mentors who can help act as a sounding board for all your big-small decisions. Ready to make it happen?

10 of the best anime series for teens

Anime is all the rage among teens — here are the shows they love!

Anime

/ˈanɪmeɪ,ˈanɪmə/

a style of Japanese film and television animation, typically aimed at adults as well as children.

Within Japan, anime is the term used to describe any form of animation, whether produced nationally or internationally. Anime is so popular today that you could find one for literally any topic, theme or age profile. From friendship and romance to science fiction and action thrillers to murder mysteries, there’s an anime series for everything. 

Fair warning: Anime is not created to appease a younger age group in any way, which means that not everything that looks age-appropriate will actually be age-appropriate for teens. 

For those new to the genre, let’s get into 10 of the most popular anime series for teenagers, in no particular order: 

1) Fullmetal Alchemist 

Japanese title: 鋼の錬金術師

Genre: Adventure | Dark Fantasy

IMDb rating: 8.5/10

What’s it about: Fullmetal Alchemist has been loosely adapted from a manga series of the same name. The series follows the story of two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, who are on the hunt for the philosopher’s stone after a failed alchemical ritual that leaves them with severely damaged bodies. It comprises a total of 51 episodes and even a second series called Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

2) Naruto 

Japanese title: ナルト

Genre: Adventure | Fantasy Comedy

IMDb rating: 8.3/10

What’s it about: This is another manga-adapted series that tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, a young mischievous ninja who seeks recognition from his peers. He also dreams of becoming the Hokage or the leader of his village. Between 2002 to 2007, the series broadcasted about 220 episodes in Japan. The sequel, Naruto: Shippuden, includes 500 more episodes.

3) Attack on Titan

Japanese title: 進撃の巨人

Genre: Action | Dark Fantasy | Post Apocalyptic 

IMDb rating: 9/10

What’s it about: Set in a post-apocalyptic world where the remains of humanity live behind walls that protect them from the Titans, Attack on Titan follows the journey of the protagonist (Eren Jaeger) and his friends in their fight against the giant Titans. The friends join the Survey Corps after the Colossal Titan breaches the wall of their hometown, destroys the city and kills Eren’s mother. It currently includes 75 episodes with the second part of the final season set to air in January 2022.

4) Yu Yu Hakusho

Japanese title: 幽☆遊☆白書

Genre: Adventure | Martial Arts

IMDb rating: 8.4/10

What’s it about: Written and illustrated by Yoshihiro Togashi, the series narrates the story of Yusuke Urameshi, a 14-year old who finds himself dead following a car crash while attempting to save a child’s life. After realizing he was never meant to die, the Spirit World resurrects him as a Spirit Detective and he’s tasked to investigate various cases involving demons and apparitions in the human world. This series won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize for best anime in 1994 and 1995.

5) Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Japanese title: 鬼滅の刃

Genre: Adventure | Dark Fantasy

IMDb rating: 8/7/10

What’s it about: This 26-episode series details the story of Tanjiro Kamado, a teenager who strives to become a demon slayer after his family was slaughtered and his younger sister Nezuko is slowly being turned into a demon. Tanjiro promises to avenge his family and cure his sister. In 2020, the Demon Slayer franchise generated an estimated annual sales revenue of ¥1 trillion ($8.75 billion), becoming one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.

6) Cowboy Bebop

Japanese title: カウボーイビバップ

Genre: Space Western | Neo-Noir

IMDb rating: 8.9/10

What’s it about: This science fiction television series comprises 26 episodes set in the year 2071. It follows the lives of a traveling bounty hunting crew in their spaceship called the Bebop. It includes several futuristic misadventures of the easygoing bounty hunter and his friends. Cowboy Bebop has been credited with helping introduce anime to a new wave of Western viewers in the early 2000s.

7) Death Note 

Japanese title: N/A

Genre: Mystery | Psychological Thriller

IMDb rating: 9/10

What’s it about: A Japanese manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, this story is about Light Yagami, a teen genius who discovers a mysterious notebook, titled the ‘Death Note’. He discovers it belonged to the Shinigami Ryuk and grants the user the supernatural ability to kill anyone whose name is written in its pages. He then goes on a secret crusade to eliminate criminals from the world.

8) Haikyuu!!

Japanese title: ハイキュー!!

Genre: Comedy | Coming of Age

IMDb rating: 8.7/10

What’s it about: Shōyō Hinata is a young boy who is determined to become a great volleyball player one day, despite his short build. He joins his school’s volleyball club – only to realize that he’s its sole member, forcing him to spend the next two years trying to convince other students to help him practice. The series currently includes 85 episodes and four seasons.

9) One Punch Man: Wanpanman

Japanese title: ワンパンマン

Genre: Action | Comedy

IMDb rating: 8.8/10

What’s it about: Meet Saitama: a superhero who can defeat any opponent with a single punch. With all the strength he has, Saitama soon grows bored and seeks to find a worthy opponent to come at par with his powers. As of April 2020, the manga remake of One Punch Man had sold over 30 million copies.

10) Black Clover

Japanese title: ブラッククローバー

Genre: Adventure | Fantasy

IMDb rating: 8.3/10

What’s it about: This 170-episode series has been written and illustrated by Yūki Tabata and follows the story of Asta and Yuno who were abandoned together at the same church. Both boys live in a magical realm where they, as children, promise to compete against each other to see who would become the next Emperor Magus.