UPSTATE, S.C. (WSPA) – As students in the Upstate head back to school, anxiety levels are mounting, which some experts say is normal for students during this time of year.
“It’s completely normal for students and parents to feel anxious about what their facing in the next few days and weeks,” Carson Felkel, system medical director for Behavioral Health at Bon Secours, said.
However, this school year there are a few more contributing factors to students’ anxiety. Some factors include the pressure to adhere to CDC guidelines, uncertainty surrounding the virus and expectations to ace classes during a global health crisis.
“There’s always anxiety around the return to school. This year returning with the COVID-19 stress and all of the uncertainties of what to expect, it’s just layered upon more anxiety,” Felkel said.
Experts warn parents to tailor this school year to the needs of their individual child, respect others for the decisions they make to fit their household’s needs, and to pay close attention to their student’s behavior and mental state.
Local therapists urge parents to make time to talk with their child more, ask them about their day, figure out what they’re worried about and find ways to ease any anxiety.
“A lot of time kids focus on what they’re worried about and what could go wrong. Instead we can focus on what has the potential to be different and exciting, then the fears get smaller and we have a better handle on them,” Jennings Davis, counselor at Vive Psych said.
Jennings recommended breathing exercises, physical activity and using mindfulness apps such as Headspace and Calm to reduce stress and anxiety.
According to the Child Mind Institute, it’s important that parents make sure they are not passing on their own stress to their kids.
“Try to stay calm despite all of the stress they’re feeling. That doesn’t mean they’ll feel calm, but that helps kids to feel in control of their situation and then they’ll feel calm,” Felkel said.
For more information about signs you should lookout for to determine if your child needs professional help, please click here.