‘It's OK to be scared of something at school’: Here are some ways for help manage back-to-school anxiety.

Today and all this month, News 12 is helping you get ready to go back to school -- and just the thought of that might be causing anxiety for many parents and kids.

News 12 Staff

Aug 15, 2022, 10:16 AM

Updated 610 days ago

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Today and all this month, News 12 is helping you get ready to go back to school -- and just the thought of that might be causing anxiety for many parents and kids.
According to a recent report in 2020, 10% of kids in New Jersey were diagnosed with or reported to have anxiety or depression by a doctor or health care provider. That number has increased from the previous report four years ago. Here are some ways to help manage back-to-school anxiety.
“It's OK to be scared of something at school,” says GenPsych Clinical Director Ira Hays. “It's OK to be scared of whatever it is, but how do we overcome that fear? How do we cope with the fear? How do we become productive and happy?"
Hays is the clinical director at GenPsych, where they've seen an increase in students coming in for help.
“There's schools calling, there's kids coming,” says Hays. “There's an overwhelming need for this kind of treatment.”
Anxiety can be trigger by so many factors. To name a few -- from who to sit with on the bus or at lunch, social media, getting good grades and current events.
To manage it, experts say identify people who can help, visit the school and be socially active before the first day, get good sleep and reach out if you are concerned.
Experts say to seek medical attention when anxiety prevents you from doing something you love, if you have panic attacks, if you feel like you can't manage it and if you feel isolated.
“Because if not that reinforces the fact that school is scary, then the grocery store becomes scary or the sports field or the mall becomes scary and it doesn't lead down a path in which a kid is living a fulfilling life,” says Hays.
But in the meantime if you're overwhelmed, just take a deep breath.
“I know it sounds simple but by focusing on our breath and being able to tolerate the stress has a lot to do with being able to monitor our body,” says Hays.
Experts say to check in with kids, listen to them and see how they react.


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