School, friends, work, social media, relationships, grades and sports. All of these are triggers for stress in a youth’s day-to-day life. We know children and teens face many pressures. But what is the difference between being worried and having anxiety disorder?
Anxiety is mental and physical distress due to genetics and/or things going on in your life, which can result in a fight, flight or freeze response. Nearly 32 percent of youth struggle or have struggled with an anxiety disorder that can be diagnosed by a doctor. Though anxiety can be managed in some cases, some youth struggle with managing it. This may affect their ability to function in the classroom, with peers and at home. This anxiety can make daily functioning difficult at times.
Anxiety can look different in every individual. This can make it hard to spot. Be aware of some of the signs and symptoms. This can help determine how and when to get involved.
Signs of anxiety to look for:
Trouble concentrating or focusing
Trouble controlling worries
Avoiding people, places or social situations
Emotionally upset when not meeting self-expectations or those of others
Trouble with transitions
Restlessness or on edge
How can I help?
Show healthy ways to handle stress and anxiety.
Give praise and encourage your child when they face challenges and fears.
Encourage the use of coping skills. Practice skills to help your child remain calm such as going for a walk together, practicing breathing exercises or listening to calming music.
Be aware of transitions at home that might cause anxiety. Provide structure and routine as much as possible.
Ask questions, talk to your child and keep the conversation open. Listen to your child’s experiences. Provide a supportive and understanding atmosphere to discuss these concerns.
Talk with your doctor on your concerns about your child’s anxiety.
Nationwide Children's Hospital has mental health counseling programs in the home/community, office and the school to help address anxiety and other mental health concerns. If you have a child who can benefit from mental health services, contact Nationwide Children’s Behavioral Health Intake Department at (614) 355-8080. Learn more at NationwideChildrens.org/Behavioral-Health.
Emily Getschman is an independent social worker and supervisor for the Middle/High School School Based Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She has been with Children’s for over six years and has held roles as a community based clinician, inpatient therapist and school-based clinician. She currently supervises a team of clinicians who provide mental health treatment to students in Bexley and Columbus City Schools.
Sarah Sohar is a Clinical Lead Supervisor for the Behavioral Health School Based team. She graduated with her Master’s degree in Clinical Counseling 10 years ago and has been working with children and families since. She has a passion to help people grow and also enjoys volunteering in the community.
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