Young people and anxiety

Posted by Devon Partnership Trust in CAMHS, Mental health, News on 17th May, 2023

Mental Health Awareness Week logo graphic

Some stress and anxiety are normal responses to everyday demands and can help our brains and bodies be ready to respond to our busy lives. However, significant pressures facing young people in their schooling, home and social lives can lead to levels of anxiety or anxious behaviours that start to get in the way and become unhelpful or overwhelming Indeed, evidence suggests anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem amongst young people, with 1 in 6 experiencing these at some point.

With exam season in full swing and the pressures young people feel to do well, it can be an important time to check-in with those young people around you. Think how best you can support them to look after their mental wellbeing by taking regular breaks, prioritising a good sleep routine, taking time to balance studying with other interests and staying connected with family and friends, for example.

Persistent anxiety can have a far-reaching impact on relationships, learning and family life and can affect us mentally and physically, leading to disruptions to sleep, concentration and mood. Physical symptoms associated with our ‘fight-flight-freeze’ response can sometimes feel overwhelming at times for young people (heart racing, breathing quicker, feeling sick, sweating etc).

Our Child and Adolescent Mental Mealth (CAMHS) practitioners in Children and Family Health Devon (CFHD) are only too aware of the challenge that anxiety can create for young people. This Mental Health Awareness Week they are re-sharing a parent’s powerful story about their autistic daughter who suffers from debilitating anxiety, amongst other things. Read her story here.

If you haven’t already seen it, Malcolm’s film where he describes how CAMHS helped him deal with his anxiety from the age of four is courageous and inspiring. Watch his story here.

Through the CFHD website, children and young people aged between 7 and 12 can access Lumi Nova a digital therapeutic intervention app.There are also lots of great ideas of how to support young people with anxiety on the Young Minds website and on Anna Freud.

There is a wide range of support available in Devon, some of which is listed on the Young Devon website. Help and support for parents and families in Devon is available at and the Devon County Council website.

If you are worried about a young person and can’t find what you are looking for through these services, talk to their school or your GP to discuss the options available.