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The NDSU Extension Service recognizes the crucial need for mental and behavioral health awareness, education, and referrals. Although we do not employ mental health professionals, we provide educational resources on topics in mental and behavioral health and partner with existing groups and organizations to further training and support in this area. This site provides information on selected resources and programs to increase awareness and assist individuals in seeking out support for needs related to mental, emotional, and behavioral health.

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Identifying Signs of Stress in Your Children and Teens

Young people, like adults, experience stress.

It can come from a variety of sources including doing well in school, making and sustaining friendships, or managing perceived expectations from their parents, teachers or coaches. Some stress can be positive in that it provides the energy to tackle a big test, presentation or sports event. Too much stress, however, can create unnecessary hardship and challenge. Adults can sometimes be unaware when their children or teens are experiencing overwhelming feelings of stress. 

Watch for negative changes in behavior.Youth of all ages, but especially younger children, may find it difficult to recognize and verbalize when they are experiencing stress. For children, stress can manifest itself through changes in behavior.

Common changes can include:

  • acting irritable
  • moody
  • withdrawing from activities that used to give them pleasure,
  • routinely expressing worries
  • complaining more than usual about school
  • crying
  • displaying surprising fearful reactions
  • clinging to a parent or teacher
  • sleeping too much or too little
  • eating too much or too little.
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