Back to School
The end of summer is marked in so many ways – longer nights, cooler days, closing camp, storing the pool supplies. The end of summer becomes real when we get ready to send the kids back to school. Back to school is mixed with a twinge of sadness at summer’s end and excitement at the start of something new. Back to school can also mean stress, pressure, and worry. For some children, worrying can turn into anxiety or depression. Unfortunately, Maine has the highest diagnosed rate of anxiety and the third highest rate of diagnosed depression among children ages 3-17 in the country. https://www.mekids.org/assets/files/2019KIDSCOUNT.pdf Across the country, over 4 million children aged 3-17 have diagnosed anxiety and nearly 2 million children have diagnosed depression. https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/data.html
These all too common health conditions can make heading back to school challenging and can contribute to acting out, poor grades, and risky behavior such as substance abuse. There are ways to insure children instead have a healthy and successful school year.
Educate. Learn the signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression. Check out MyStrength for education forums specifically around anxiety and depression in children and adolescents.
Reassure. Let your child know that you believe concerns they share and that you’ll help support them.
Listen. Hear what your child is saying and try not to rush to find a fix for the problem.
Discuss. Let your child’s medical provider know about any concerns you have. Sometimes counseling or medication is the best way to confront anxiety and depression.
Watch. Check out the Acadia CARES (Child and Adolescent Resource and Educational Series) for more information. https://northernlighthealth.org/Locations/Acadia-Hospital/Featured/Acadia-CARES
Here’s to a great school year!