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One of the most common mental health concerns I come across as a school psychologist at a high school is anxiety. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) approximately 25% of 13-18 year olds suffer from anxiety and almost 6% of 13-18 year olds have “severe” anxiety disorder. Anxiety can significantly impact a student’s academic achievement, school attendance, and social/peer relationships.

Many students get diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). GAD is characterized by chronic, excessive worry about events or activities, such as everyday events, health, family, school performance, or world affairs. When they worry, they experience at least one of the following physical symptoms: restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and/or difficulty sleeping. Some children with GAD also experience gastrointestinal discomfort .(Source: http://www.copingcatparents.com/generalized_anxiety_disorder

The good news is that GAD can be alleviated in children and teens. The treatment/therapy that has shown the most promise is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). CBT involves teaching children how our thoughts, behaviors and feelings are interrelated, and that by changing thoughts about anxiety provoking situations, they can change how they feel and react to it.

Source: http://nationalsocialanxietycenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/cbtgraph21.jpg

Parent Resources

Following are links to resources for parents, to help identify the signs and symptoms of anxiety and review treatment options:





It’s a fact – research proves it – attendance rates for freshman students are better predictors of graduation rates, compared to their 8th grades test scores! Encouraging students to get to, and stay in school needs to be a priority for schools staff and caregivers alike. One way to do this is to engage teens in tracking their own attendance. Among middle and high school students, it is important to empower students to develop their own strategies for getting to school and to monitor when absences add up.

Below are links to information and research on the critical role attendance plays in a high school student’s academic success and graduation, and some strategies on how to prevent absenteeism:

Importance of Freshman attendance

Attendance flyer

Source: Teens and Their Families – Attendance Works


I tend to listen to TED Radio Hour, a really interesting podcast, when I run. Nudge was the title of the podcast I listened to this morning. Had a lot to do with how big of a difference we can make by making small changes – the words we use to give feedback, for example. Mindset, a book written by Carol Dweck, explains the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. The idea is to develop a growth mindset among children. This can be done by the kind of feedback we give to them when they attempt a task and either succeed or fail. If they succeed, we should credit their effort/problem solving skills, showing them that hard work and perseverance pays off, instead of just saying “you’re so smart!,” which leads them to believe that the ability is inherent and fixed and cannot be changed – either you have it or you don’t. If they fail, maybe it’s because they need clarification on something or they need more practice, but there’s always room to improve and grow!

I’ve added the Mindset website link to my Resources and Links section

Courtesy of: www.connectionsacademy.com