Panther Parent MS/HS Newsletter

All Things Social/Emotional at Addison Secondary Schools

All About Anxiety

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Dear Families,

This week, we will be spending some time teaching your students about the topic of ANXIETY. Adolescent anxiety is actually fairly common --according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), over 31% of adolescents struggle with an anxiety disorder. This newsletter is designed to help you recognize any symptoms of anxiety in your teenager and learn ways to help support your student's anxiety through developing healthy coping mechanisms. Your student will also be receiving educational information about worries, as well as healthy tips and strategies used to help decrease anxiety.

Before we get started, I want to remind you that even though we don't get to see your students face-to-face at school anymore, we are all still here to help. Please don't ever hesitate to reach out to me either by email or by submitting a request form for non-urgent issues. If you or a loved one is experiencing an emergency or one of the '3 Hurts,' please seek help immediately using one of resources listed at the very bottom of this newsletter. As always, if you have any questions, thoughts, or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out!

Stay Healthy! Stay Happy!

Ms. Monica Flores

Secondary Behavior Specialist

Addison Community Schools

Mrs. Ashley Davis

Secondary School Counselor

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What is ANXIETY?

According to the University of Michigan's TRAILS to Wellness, anxiety is an intense feeling of being afraid, nervous, tense or worried that is too strong for the situation, go on too long and get in the way of normal life. Being afraid is normal for survival in situations of real danger, but sometimes the feelings are transferred to situations that are not actually dangerous. The same is true about worry. Worrying can be helpful when it is important to be prepared and consider possible things that could go wrong. But worrying about many things all the time is unhelpful and distressing. All anxiety problems involve being overly afraid or overly worried. When fear and worry are not necessary, are too strong, and interfere with life, it is important to get help.

Last edited: 08/10/2019

What does Anxiety Look Like for Teens?

Being a teen is tough sometimes! They are navigating new academic demands via 'distance learning', biological and hormonal changes, worries about fitting in or being liked, friendship, dating, peer pressure, identity, and self-esteem, all while striving for their own independence and autonomy. Naturally, adolescent anxiety is somewhat a normal part of growing up, and all kids experience it. But when it becomes extreme, it can interfere with a child's overall happiness.

As you can imagine, with all of this going on it is expected for teens to have anxious moments. Phases of anxiety are usually short term, and often occur alongside with environmental stressors--the current global pandemic, conflicts with friends, before new experiences, or when preparing for a high-pressure situation such as an important competition. Generally, teens are resilient and can often bounce back from difficult emotions. However, when anxiety becomes overwhelming, it can produce chronic symptoms that require a significant amount of energy to manage or that may prevent them from fully functioning and being their best-selves.

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When to Get Help for Anxiety

Since everyone feels scared, anxious or worried sometimes, it is important to pay attention when the feelings, thoughts and behaviors are very intense, go on too long and get in the way of being able to do what you normally do. The main way that people handle anxiety is by avoiding “facing up” to fears and worries. This coping approach works very well in the moment because it lowers the anxious feelings right away (e.g., staying home, not going into social situations). The problem is that avoiding never solves the problem of unrealistic or too intense fears and worries. Avoidance can become a problem in itself. Avoiding things you are afraid of gets in the way of normal life like going to school and having friends. Other times, avoidance can be risky or harmful. For example, a teenager may drink or take drugs to avoid or lessen anxious feelings. Sometimes, even engaging in risky behavior or self-harming behavior can be a form of avoiding “facing up” to fears and worries. Get help right away if...

  • You are doing things on purpose to hurt yourself
  • You are drinking and taking drugs to block out negative feelings

Last edited: 08/10/2019

Disaster Distress Helpline

The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

Lenawee Community Mental Healthy (CMH) - COVID19 Info

During this time of uncertainty, Lenawee Community Mental Health Authority (LCMHA) wants to let our community know that they are still ‘open for business’. In an effort to keep everyone safe, face to face contact has been reduced. If you are in need of services for yourself or your students, please call their office at (517) 263-8905 or (800) 664-5005. The COVID-19 pandemic is understandably creating an increase in anxiety and fear--this is a normal reaction to a worldwide crisis. There is help available. CMH is currently offering community groups to help you cope with the stress and anxiety. These groups are conducted via Zoom by a Master’s level clinician. They will be held every day at 10am and 2pm. You can join the group by going to the LCMHA Facebook page or website at (click on the Coronavirus link).

What is Stress?