The Three Things Making Texters Anxious Right Now

Halloween is this week, so we thought it was a good time to dive into our data and find out what’s really scaring our texters? The answer: school, social media, the election.

Here’s the TL;DR:

A whopping 40% of all our conversations (since 20123) with texters have been about anxiety. This month, three of the top words coming up in conversations about anxiety: semester, math, and … election.

School. The majority of our texters (34.2%) mentioning anxiety are high school age (between 14 -17). So, it’s not surprising that the most common stressors these texters mention are academic and social pressure, performance anxiety, and bullying they experience at school.

Social Media. Convos about anxiety increase 45% for texters under 13 when social media is mentioned. Common themes we saw are:

  • Bullying/Harassment: hurtful DMs, blackmail with pictures, unwanted videos/pictures being posted and circulated, etc.
  • Low Self Esteem: intense comparisons with others on social media make texters feel bad about their bodies, lives, circumstances, etc.
  • Loneliness: texters report feelings of loneliness and isolation when it feels like everyone is hanging out without them (and posting about it on social media)
  • Connection: Yes! Some texters report social media being a positive force in their life where they can find community and support. This can come through accounts that connect others who have had similar experiences. At Crisis Text Line, we like to make kindness the star of our social media accounts. Fill your feed with kindness and follow @crisistextline on all platforms (yep, even TikTok!).

Election. Anxiety about elections isn’t new for our texters. In fact, we saw a major spike on a Wednesday in November 2016 (the day after the election). Anxiety about elections is a hot topic for everyone, but we see it pop up the most for texters who are voting age. And, national elections aren’t the only elections drumming up anxiety for our texters! Quite a few conversations with younger texters actually have to do with school elections.

People are anxious everywhere. For our texters, it seems New England has an acute anxiety issue: Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine are among the top states experiencing anxiety.

We know anxiety comes in all shapes and sizes, can be triggered by different stressors, and manifest in many ways. Our texters described feeling shaky, suffocated, triggered, empty, distressed, chest pain, and unable to sleep.

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