Anxiety in Young Adults

Anxiety is the most common mental illness in young adults.

According to a survey by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups that interviewed 4,443 secondary school students between September and October 2020, nearly 22% of secondary students in Hong Kong displayed signs of anxiety.

How we feel and think is central to how we live our daily lives. That’s why it’s important that we understand what anxiety is.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of unease such as worry or fear that can be mild or severe. Everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their life especially in high pressure situations but anxiety disorder is something more serious.

What is anxiety disorder?

Anxiety disorder is a mental illness when you have persistent, excessive and uncontrollable anxious feelings that causes significant disruption to your day-to-day functioning.

How does it affect your daily life?

Anxiety can prevent you from being yourself at school, work, family get-togethers, and other social situations that might trigger or worsen your symptoms. These may include (but aren’t limited to) frequent and excessive worry, poor concentration, sleep disturbance, muscle tension, fatigue, shortness of breath, avoidance and social withdrawal.

How to cope with anxiety?

  • Establish and maintain a healthy routine: get enough sleep, have balanced meals and continue to exercise regularly. 
  • Spend time with your friends and family even if this is done remotely (e.g. by phone, text or FaceTime). 
  • Find resources at your school: school counsellors, social workers and academic advisors. 
  • If you are struggling, seek professional help.

How to support your peers who are coping with anxiety?

You could check-in to see how they’re doing and offer to accompany them to seek support. Help them regain self-confidence and feel accepted for who they are. When they feel ready, encourage them to meet new people and use their experiences to help others, which can break the stigma of mental ill-health.

Special thanks to Island School student Nicole Cheng who granted permission to use and adapt her work.