Children’s mental health providers share techniques for destressing and coping with anxiety
Pathways Community Mental Health’s Deb Carello and Krystle Hanson join TV6′s Tia Trudgeon for a conversation about student mental health.
MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Back to school can mean back to stress for some students.
In recent months, the mental health of students has been at the forefront of many back-to-school conversations.
But what can parents do to make sure their child is feeling their best and set up for a successful semester?
Deb Carello and Krystle Hanson of Pathways Community Mental Health join TV6′s Tia Trudgeon for a conversation about student mental health and how to recognize that your child is struggling with anxiety.
Carello says that anxiety does not discriminate against age, and kids may be diagnosed as young as three years old.
“There can be a ton of different causes [of anxiety], it can be that they’re worried about what’s going to happen when they go into school for the first time, that they don’t know who their teacher is, they’re worried about friends, maybe they have a history with bullies, maybe their struggling with what they’re seeing on social media,” says Hanson.
If you’re worried that your child is struggling with anxiety, watch out for changes in their behavior.
Carello says potential signs are consistent nightmares, stomach aches, trouble sleeping, being clingy, fidgeting behaviors, nail-biting, tantrums, and being self-conscious, “You’re looking for patterns, if something is persistent over a couple of weeks, that’s something to really take note of. Anything out of the normal routine is something worth noting and maybe having a conversation about.”
If your child’s anxiety is impacting their daily life, ability to go to school, sleep, or diet, Carello says it’s time to visit a doctor or mental health provider to discuss further treatment options.
If your child’s anxiety is more situational and not consistent, there are techniques you can try at home for coping with anxiety.
Hanson says YouTube can be a great resource for finding scripts and exercises for parents to do with their kids.
She recommends trying progressive muscle relaxation, guided meditation, grounding exercises, talking it out, and listening to and validating your child’s worries.
The language you use when having conversations about mental health can impact how your child feels.
Carello says to avoid using accusatory, dismissive, or negative language.
For example, avoid using phrases like “It’s not a big deal”, “I’m sure it’s nothing”, or “You’re overthinking this”.
You can learn more about Pathways Community Mental Health and mental health resources in your area at pathwaysup.org.
Copyright 2023 WLUC. All rights reserved.