Students react to mental health in NJ, ‘Most Stressful State’


A map of the states ranked according to stress levels

Whether it is sitting in rush hour traffic, keeping up with deadlines, or struggling to pay bills, stress affects the majority of people.

With a population of 8,915,456, New Jersey has topped the list of ‘Most Stressful State’ on a report done by Zippia. Zippia determined this statistic after analyzing data of sleepless people with six criteria in mind.

The six criteria included long commute times, unemployment, amount of hours worked, population density, home price to income ratio and percent uninsured population.

According to Zippia, “The higher any of these was, the more stressful the people of the state are”. Stress continues to be the major cause of many mental health disorders or occupies the ability to worsen existing ones.

For example, according to researchers Harry Mills, PH.D, Natalie Reiss, PH.D, and Mark Dombeck, PH.D, “psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) research suggests that chronic stress can lead to or exacerbate mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, bipolar disorder, cognitive (thinking) problems, personality changes, and problem behaviors”. With stress at its peak in our state, mental health deems importance for our well-beings.

October is Mental Health Awareness month. As part of that cause, it seems appropriate to learn about mental illness.

Nearly one in five Americans has a mental illness. Roughly 43% received treatment. Young adults (18-25) represent the largest group affected at 22.1%, but only 35.1% of affected individuals in the age range receive treatment.

The National Alliance of Mental Illness compiled advice for helping people affected by mental illness. The most important recommendations seem to be kindness, using “I” statements instead of directing the conversation to them, avoid prying, offer hope, and to express genuine concern. They state, “Reduce any defensiveness by sharing your feelings and looking for common ground…. Keep in mind that mental illness has nothing to do with a person’s intelligence.”

Mental illness isn’t visible. If you don’t have it, then someone you know has it. Whether the disease is minor, moderate or severe, it’s a disease that deserves care and treatment.

To dismiss any amount of pain is cruel, and helps nobody. The best thing to do is lend an ear. Listen and share.

Otherwise, try trusting a professional for advising in rampant times. Brookdale has professionally trained and NJ licensed counselors. It is confidential. You can call 732-224-2986 to schedule an appointment.