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MANAGING ANXIETY PROBLEMS AT SCHOOL A Resource for Teachers.

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Presentation on theme: "MANAGING ANXIETY PROBLEMS AT SCHOOL A Resource for Teachers."— Presentation transcript:

1 MANAGING ANXIETY PROBLEMS AT SCHOOL A Resource for Teachers

2 Anxiety Most, if not all, children experience some episodes of fear and worry in ordinary situations. For some children, anxiety interferes in their daily lives. There are many definitions of anxiety, but a useful one is apprehension or excessive fear about real or imagined circumstances.

3 Healthy vs. Unhealthy Anxiety HealthyUnhealthy Subsides over timeDoes not subside over time Helps us function and/or does not impair Impairs child’s functioning

4 Anxiety on a Continuum Mental healthMental health problemMental illness / disorder Healthy moods, able to function and reach one’s full potential Resiliency factors such as all forms of interpersonal support (e.g., secure attachments) Mild problems with thoughts, behaviours Stresses at school, home and/or work Symptom clusters and impaired functioning E.g. mood/anxiety problems, externalizing problems, psychoses, substance use, etc.

5 What We Know About the Anxiety Rates of DSB Ontario North East Students

6 Some Key Indicators That A Child May Be Struggling With Anxiety Frequent absences from school Decline in grades or unable to work to potential Excessive worrying about homework or grades Frequent bouts of tears Refusal to join in social activities or new situations Extreme need for reassurance Avoidance of stressful situations (tests, public speaking) Physical complaints that are not attributable to a health problem Easily frustrated Persistent perfectionism – schoolwork erased and rewritten many times Repeating rituals Working exceedingly slowly to feel it has been done properly Avoidance of locations in school or of certain people

7 Developmental Considerations Children More pronounced physical symptoms or behavioural changes Adolescents Problems less fluid May display irritability and anger

8 Developmental Considerations Developmental StageTypical Fears Late infancyLoud noises, strangers Early childhoodDarkness, storms, fire, water, separating from parents, imaginary creatures, sleeping alone, doctors Middle childhoodAnimals, germs, injury, natural disasters or events (e.g. storms) AdolescencePeer rejection, school performance, social competence, worries about their own health and others health Note: This is only a guide.

9 What To Do If One Suspects Anxiety Start by bringing together the appropriate people for discussion. This could include the parents/guardians, principal, SERT and Mental Health Team Encourage families to see a physician or pediatrician Source: hubertk on Flickr

10 General Strategies Improve resiliency factors/strengths: Improve connections to supportive, nurturing adults Ensure school personnel know how to identify anxiety Worried-Child/Introduction.aspx?viewType=Professional Development Worried-Child/Introduction.aspx?viewType=Professional Development Ensure that students can turn to school personnel who will listen and provide support nce%204-0.pdf nce%204-0.pdf Engage the child or youth to participate in activities that develop their confidence

11 General Strategies Listen and avoid being judgmental. Avoid being overly critical. Avoid expressing frustration. Be empathetic. Avoid confrontation with the child or youth. Provide reassurance and information.

12 General strategies Provide incentives for brave behaviour gradual and patient approach helps with motivation needs to be: immediate simple and consistent small and frequent Source: dolanh on Flickr

13 General strategies Provide predictability and consistency Children and youth usually do best when expectations are consistent. schedules and routines need for one person in charge use of same reassuring phrases plan ahead

14 General strategies Reduce unnecessary stressors Identify stresses at school. Create a plan to reduce stresses or problem solve. Help identify adaptive thinking. Coping self-talk What can I think about or do to reduce my anxiety? Create a card or other concrete reminder Model calm, effective coping. Source: tamurray5 on Flickr

15 Calming/distraction strategies Relaxing the mind and relieving stress can be accomplished through: abdominal breathing ex. t/files/calm_breathing.pdf t/files/calm_breathing.pdf progressive muscle relaxation -resources/how-to-teach-children- progressive-muscle-relaxation -resources/how-to-teach-children- progressive-muscle-relaxation Mindfulness exercises fulnessforchildren.pdf fulnessforchildren.pdf Have a chill out zone Source: Clarkston SCAMP on Flickr

16 THANK YOU! We hope that you found this a useful introduction to managing anxiety at school. Should you have questions, your Mental Health Leader is available to provide ongoing support and leadership to your team.


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