Mental Health Services Newsletter – May

We know that anxiety is something that children and adults alike might experience. We also know that the words anxiety and stress are often interchanged. Please see this month’s edition of the Mental health Services Newsletter to learn more about anxiety and what you can do to help your child(ren).Much of the information included in this newsletter was sourced from Anxiety Canada.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is an emotion felt in the body that can result in physical symptoms like stomach aches, headaches, and rapid breathing. Anxiety is normal. We all feel anxious, worried, or fearful from time-to-time. Feeling anxious isn’t a bad thing. It alerts us to threats, protects us from danger, and helps us reach important goals. Anxiety is our body and our brain sending us messages to help us stay safe and be prepared.

See the Fight Flight Freeze video by Anxiety Canada to learn more.

What is the difference between stress and anxiety?

Stress is a common experience that we all face and is usually triggered by something external, such as a homework assignment or project that is due, having a lot of activities on the go, or an argument with a friend or caregiver. Usually, once the situation is resolved, or time has passed, you can feel a lot better.

Anxiety, on the other hand, is something that is caused internally. There is a persistent feeling or worry that does not go away, even after the concern has passed, and there may not be an obvious trigger.

What can I do to help my child(ren) with anxiety?

Anxiety shouldn’t be avoided. It’s important to allow your child to face challenges and difficult or scary situations. Your child(ren) might feel better in the short-term when they stay home or opt-out, but in the long term, it makes things worse as your child(ren) never learns that they can handle the tough stuff. While it’s hard to see your child(ren) in distress, coping with anxiety is a critical life skill.

We can help children remember that when it comes to anxiety, it’s best to take action, as doing this reminds us that we can fight our fears by facing them.

If your child or teen is struggling with anxiety and you’re not sure how best to help them, arming yourself with key facts and general knowledge about anxiety will be the start of creating a plan of action to offer you and your child some confidence and direction.

Check out the Anxiety Canada website and/or try the My Anxiety Plan (MAP) for Children and Teens.

When should I reach out for additional help for my child(ren)?

Although anxiety is normal, harmless, and part of everyday life, for some children it can take over. Anxiety can flood children with unpleasant physical feelings, unwanted thoughts, and result in avoidance or opting out of important routines, such as playing a sport, making friends, going to school, and more.

You know your child(ren) best. You have an important role in noticing when your child is experiencing distress that can result in changes in their thoughts, their feelings, or the way they behave.

Where do I go for help for my child(ren)?

There are many caring professionals who can assist. In TLDSB schools, there are mental health counsellors who help support students. If you want more information about this, reach out to your child’s teacher or school principal to request a consultation.

Find help in your community through the Children’s Mental Health Ontario website or by reaching out to your child’s doctor. Additionally, the Mental Health and Well-Being page on the TLDSB website has resources available.

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Fenelon Township Public School

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