The Alarming Truth about Anxiety

The United States population is made up of approximately 42 million adolescents. 9% of which have been clinically diagnosed with some sort of anxiety. That would mean over three million teenagers experience anxiety every day. This is a critical and relevant topic in today’s society and makes many professionals speculate the cause.

School psychologist, Alex Beekman, explained the cause depends on the person..

     “The thing is, anxiety is different for every person.  It all depends on what “triggers” our survival system. For example, if I had a negative experience with writing in elementary and middle school, I may develop anxiety about producing essays in my high school classes, “ said Beekman

     Jeff Sloat, a school counselor, expands on the impact social media has on anxiety.  

     “A huge contributing factor is social media. There is no time where teens are disconnected from the opinions and judgment of others. Connectivity may have some benefits, but also leads to lots of comparison. “ said Sloat.

   Anxiety is triggered by so many constant things and it can be hard to know how to cope with it. Different types of anxiety may have different coping methods or one specific solution. It is unique to the person, so there isn’t a universal answer of treatment process.

   When asked about the coping process, Beekman says, “Perspective-taking is essential. This is the practice of pausing our continuous thoughts, taking a look at what is ACTUALLY happening and dismissing thoughts that are based on opinion or steeped in anxiety.”

   One of the most important things for teens to acknowledge is that they are not alone and that anxiety is not something to be ashamed of. Anxiety may lead to thoughts of anger, depression, and a lot of that comes from blaming themselves for what they are feeling. 

   Sloat touches on social media again as he says, “Have some self-compassion. Remember that everyone struggles, and no one has a perfect life. Social media timelines often reflect the very best selfie, fun with friends, or other amazing aspects of life. Try to not compare yourself with others.”

   While the prospect of managing anxiety may seem hopeless, there are many strategies, processes, and treatment plans that could help generations in the future. People are constantly discovering new ways to improve and effectively help people that struggle with anxiety daily. This is a prominent, important problem that deserves attention and assistance.

    Beekman states, “I would love to see students start to think about managing their anxiety by getting serious about meditation, exercise, counseling and other proven strategies.  Anxiety is hard and it takes hard work to live with it but it does not have to be an insurmountable obstacle in our lives. It becomes insurmountable when it goes untreated and when we aren’t willing to put in the work to combat it.”

   At Darby, there are many ways to treat this, such as seeing the school counselor and confiding in a teacher or student. Hope squad is a place where peers can support each other as they’re struggling with anxiety, depression, or other struggles. These are some healthy and beneficial ways to fight anxiety that are always available to students in need. 

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