By Lisa Mercurio, School Psychologist; US Academic Support Coordinator
Last week at the monthly PTPA general meeting, the division School Psychologists (Lisa Picha, Karen Fritchley and myself) along with Dr. Dana Lasek, Psychologist and Park Tudor parent, provided a talk on the topic of anxiety. The title of the presentation was “Don’t Let Worry Get in the Way: Strategies across Divisions to Support the Anxious Student.” In an effort to share this information with the larger Park Tudor community, following is a summary of the presentation.
Anxiety like any other mental health condition is treatable and manageable. An early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are keys to making a difference in the lives of children struggling with emotional problems. But, first, it is most important to pick up on the signs and symptoms that something is wrong.
Common symptoms seen in school age children include:
- Physical complaints such as headaches and stomachaches that can lead to school avoidance
- Problems with sleeping and/or eating
- Avoiding outside and interpersonal activities
- Excessive need for reassurance
- Restlessness or feeling wound-up or on edge
- Being easily fatigued
- Difficulty concentrating or having their minds go blank
- Muscle tension
- Difficulty controlling the worry
Supports are available in each division and are appropriate based on the child’s developmental level, such as small group support in the Lower School, individual counseling at each division, and the Test Anxiety Group in the Upper School.
Understand that some feelings of worry are normal and can be productive. To support your child, educate yourself, talk to your child and reach out to school resources. It is important to know when to seek professional help:
- Talk of hurting one-self or others
- Non-suicidal self-injurious behaviors
- Excessive emotional outbursts
- Anti-social acts
- Use of drugs or alcohol
As always, should you have any concerns regarding your child, please don’t hesitate to contact your division school counselor or psychologist. If you’d like to learn more, here is a list of suggested resources for anxiety.