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Nurses, Counselors See Prevalence of Anxious Teens Increase

Nurses, Counselors See Prevelance of Anxious Teens Increase

A recent study finds that a great amount of students today are anxious due to expectations and social media. School pressure can be one of the stressors affecting teens and more and more school personnel have been tasked to help students cope.

Quite often it falls to school nurses to deal with overwhelmed students. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about eight percent of today's U.S. teens suffer from "some type of diagnosed anxiety disorder," said an article in the Atlantic Monthly. Anxiety, the article added, has "been on the rise among children and young adults since at least the 1950s."

School counselors and nurses "have cited increased amounts of stress, pressure, social media, and divorce as causes for this surge in anxiety that has not only affected the teens who suffer but school administrators trying to help their students."

"Things have changed dramatically with my students over the past couple of decades,” said Dr. Sharon Sevier, chair of the board of The American School Counselor Association and counselor at Lafayette High School in St. Louis. “Early in my career, I saw very few mental-health issues, and the home and family issues were more rare.”

Jason Bradley, counselor at Roseville High School in California, "attributes a lot of the anxiety to the growing presence of technology in students' lives. 

"With the rise in the digital world, kids very often feel rushed and pressured,” Bradley said. “There’s a lot of info, a lot to learn, a lot to know.”

Along with social media pressure, Sevier said, there is also "high performance expectations surrounding school and sports."

“The competition and pressure on kids have really increased,” Sevier said. “There seems to be a belief that there are certain courses that are the ‘right’ ones to take. Getting the ‘right’ grade in those classes leads to the potential of getting into the ‘right’ college or university. Many of those ‘right’ schools have stiff admission requirements. Students are challenged to take a demanding course of study, to get a high GPA and gain admission into those schools. So many times, if they are denied, students take it as a personal failure. School is more challenging, the stakes seem to be higher, and pressure is alive and well.”

Professional development is huge for a school counselor. We have to be in a continual state of learning in order to stay current and abreast of what's happening in the field. I want to bring as much knowledge and expertise to my students and their families as I can.

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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