The SchoolWorks Lab EdSpeeak: What is my anxiety plan?

What is My Anxiety Plan?

In Sunday’s New York TImes, writer Jessica Grose alerts us to a problem that many of us in education are already aware of: anxiety and depression are on the rise in our students. Educators are aware of this because anxiety and depression have been on the rise for maybe as much as twenty five years. But the most recent bump up in cases is probably due to the pandemic. During this health emergency, many students were forced home from school and turned to the internet. This phone accessible internet that looks like it connects us but in reality disconnects us has furthered the isolation of our K-12 population. As those students looked to the internet to pass the time in their room, the isolation for many children was as if they had intellectually dropped out of school. The result was an increase in anxiety and depression.

Anxiety Canada is extremely pleased to announce the launch of My Anxiety Plan (M.A.P.) for Children. M.A.P. is a free online anxiety management toolkit and step-by-step guide for parents with anxious children. You can read the full press release here.

Anxiety Canada

Canada Jumps In

Canada noticed this problem of isolation in rooms by the young and started to work on it. Parents may also have noticed how their own children became used to being at home by turning to their phone to solve their isolation problem. Even when children returned to school, their disengagement was palpable to teachers and parents alike. Most important for us to understand is that there are now psychological tools for student anxiety support that have the latest thinking in helping students re-engage:

After identifying a need for anxiety management tools that parents can use at home, Anxiety Canada, along with a psychologist, developed tools based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) that can be used to manage eleven different anxiety and anxiety related disorders. This program and the resources associated with it are free of charge on the Anxiety Canada website.

And why turn to an Anxiety Canada website in another country to address this kind of problem? Because the availability of psychologists in the United States who work with children is very small (maybe four thousand says the New York Times). The number of school psychologists is also small and their caseload is overwhelming their availability to new students who are just as deserving of clinical help. Most importantly in this discussion of online support,

Despite this online help, if you are in trouble right now, please call 911, or go to an emergency room if you are able, or go to a doctor who can help, and reach out to your parents and teachers to alert them of your feelings.

If You Want to Access Help Online….

My Anxiety Plan (MAP) is separated into five parts and broken down into easy to manage sessions that the parent can complete with the child. Each Anxiety Canada website session consists of tools and worksheets that will help the child learn what happens to the body when s/he becomes anxious and teaches them how to decrease excessive anxiety by gradually being exposed to anxiety-provoking situations and activities that s/he previously avoided. The parent, or parent and child, can work at their own pace to complete the sections.

Anxiety Canada

Make an Anxiety Plan

So please make an anxiety plan to help yourself or your children to access the help they need. Find in person help as soon as you need it, and access online help to support your feelings at home. As always, reach out, support each other, and don’t stay in your room when your world is waiting for your smiling face.

Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

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