It’s refreshing to see students headed back to school knowing that many of us are returning to once-familiar routines. However, youth may still feel more anxious than usual.
With the impact of three stressful, traumatic years fresh in many minds, studies continue to indicate elevated anxiety and depression will be an ongoing concern among adolescents. Recently, one survey noted that 73 percent of parents say counseling would benefit their youth. That’s an even greater number than last year.
“While some youth have the resiliency and coping skills to adjust to circumstances, many are struggling,” said Rosecrance Regional President Carlene Cardosi, MSW, LCSW. “The long exposure to stress may have impacted their social, emotional, and classroom learning skills in ways that will take extra supports this year to thrive.”
Rosecrance experts offer a few suggestions to help families begin the year strong:
- Watch for any behavior change, mood swings, altered sleep or eating patterns, or self-harm.
- Have open, honest conversations about current events and life stress as a If the adults are honest about their struggles, it will be easier for adolescents to share their feelings.
- If you don’t feel comfortable discussing something with family, reach out to a trusted professional. For adults, that could be a counselor, therapist, or religious leader. For youth, that could be a school counselor or social worker.
- Take an occasional break. A walk, quick workout, mindfulness activities, reading books for fun, and other hobbies are excellent stress relievers.
In addition, Rosecrance’s Back to School Resources Toolkit provides useful information to help families and education professionals understand signs and symptoms of behavioral health issues, and how to guide teens through treatment.