According to the World Health Organization, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health challenge in the U.S. and it’s impacting young people who are often less equipped to handle stress or to help friends who may be suffering from anxiety. While anxiety disorders are highly treatable, only one-third of those who suffer get treatment. Passionate local volunteers, educators and experts want to help educate families about anxiety.
The Youth Services Bureau has collaborated with local school districts and their counseling professionals to present the documentary film Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety to school staffs, students and their families in the St. Croix Valley. The producers of the film have one goal–to start a global conversation and raise awareness around anxiety. The creators of the film want viewers to know that “while Angst documents the struggles some people have with anxiety, it also reveals their hope for the future.”
The film’s screenings are followed up with panel discussions that include school staff members, school psychologists, an YSB therapist and a parent. The hope is that parents and care givers will learn the difference between stress and anxiety, how to recognize the signs and ways to help teens manage stress both in and out of school.
Michael Huntley, program director for YSB says, “Anxiety in our youth is much more common than most people realize, and there are things adults can do to try to prevent it and also to help manage it.”
Merri Guggisberg of YSB adds, “Anxiety is the top reason we see kids. Times have changed and our kids see and endure a lot.” YSB wants to bring hope in those moments when people don’t know where to turn. They want to come alongside parents and be an asset in the community.
Huntley emphasizes that the goal is not to eliminate stress (or anxiety)… The goal is to find that manageable level so we can perform our best–expecting anything different is a setup for failure and leads to more stress and anxiety. Parents and adults have the challenge to monitor what they are modeling for youth when it comes to handling stress.
He suggests helping your children find that much needed sense of balance in the midst of academic pressures, social pressures, family pressures and personal pressures. Too much of anything works against raising a well-rounded youth who can have a sense of personal capacity, a sense of optimism about their future and who’s able to enjoy things that are safe and fun. It can be done, sometimes by seeking a little bit of support.
A community screening of Angst is scheduled for February 12th at Stillwater Middle School. Addtitional screenings are being planned for Hudson, Wis. area students. For more information, click here.