From the High School Deputies

William Carey is committed to the overall growth and successes of each student; mental health care is a vital part of student development. Up to 20% of children have a diagnosable mental health concern, with depression and anxiety being the most prevalent.

Anxiety Disorders in Children and Adolescents
Half of all children and adolescents aged 4-17 years with mental disorders have an anxiety disorder. This is equivalent to 6.9% of all children and adolescents or an estimated 278,000 children and adolescents. There was little difference between males and females, 7.0% and 6.8% respectively.

Click here to read the Government report.

The Raising Children website states that anxiety disorders in teenagers are serious mental health problems. Anxiety disorders affect how teenagers think, feel and behave, hence, it is important to seek professional help if you see any of the warning signs of anxiety disorders in your child.

Episodes of anxiety are usually short lived with feelings possibly lasting for a few hours or a day. Normal anxiety is an emotion you can expect to see in your teenager. In fact, some anxiety can even be a good thing.

An anxiety problem or anxiety disorder is when anxious feelings:

  • are consistently very intense and severe
  • go on for weeks, months or even longer
  • are so distressing that they interfere with young people’s learning, socialising and ability to do everyday things.

Anxiety disorders can be especially serious for young people, because young people are still developing. If left untreated, anxiety disorders in teenagers can have long-term consequences for mental health and development.

Symptoms of anxiety problems and anxiety disorders in teenagers
Talk with your child and see a health professional if, over a period of more than two weeks, your child shows these emotional, behavioural, physical and thinking symptoms. Not all the symptoms have to be present for there to be a problem.

Emotional and behavioural symptoms
Your child might:

  • feel constantly agitated, tense, restless or unable to stop or control worrying – your child might seem unable to relax
  • seem very sensitive to criticism or extremely self-conscious or uncomfortable in social situations
  • always expect the worst to happen or seem to worry too much or in a way that’s out of proportion to problems or situations
  • avoid difficult or new situations, or have difficulty facing new challenges
  • be withdrawn or very shy, or avoid social activities
  • feel that he must do a particular action
  • have obsessive thoughts or images that he says he can’t get out of his head.

Physical symptoms
Your child might:

  • have tense or sore muscles
  • go to the toilet more than usual
  • have a racing heart, sweating, headaches, stomach aches or nausea
  • have sleeping problems, like trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or waking early.

Thinking symptoms
Your child might:

  • have trouble concentrating
  • often seem forgetful or distracted
  • put things off – for example, have trouble starting or completing schoolwork.

Professionals who can help include GPs and school counsellors. You might also find that it helps to talk with family members or other parents.

Getting professional help for anxiety disorders in teenagers

You might feel uncomfortable talking to your child about mental health problems. But an anxiety disorder is unlikely to go away on its own. Seeking professional help early for your child is the best thing you can do.

Options for professional help include:

  • your GP, who can guide you to the most appropriate services for your family if you don’t know where to go
  • school counsellors
  • psychologists– you don’t need a referral, but your GP might be able to recommend someone
  • telephone parenting hotlines or Lifeline – 131 114
  • your local community health centre or local mental health services.

What is our school doing to support you in this matter? 

Our next parent seminar will address this exact concern, join us on the evening of Monday 14th May in R block as our guest speaker Rev. Paul Grimmond addresses the issues related to anxiety and how this affects our Christian lives. Click here to find out about this event.

In His service,

Brad Milburn
Deputy Principal, Welfare