Saturday January 11, 2020 at Independence High School, Loudoun County Public Schools had its Mental Health and Wellness Conference. The conference agenda had 3 breakout sessions one of which included showing of the IndieFlix original documentary, LIKE.
With one in three adolescents suffering from an anxiety disorder, Craig James presented Anxiety: Overcoming the Pressures of Prosperity during the first breakout session. The presentation reviewed that adolescence is a vulnerable time for the brain and for teenagers in general. While most teens go on to become healthy adults, as adolescents their brains are more susceptible. Craig discussed some of these contributing factors, ways to cope, and discussed tools to navigate the stresses of living in the Northern Virginia area. A few highlights from his presentation:
- The brain is resilient. Anxiety is treatable however 80% of those diagnosed are not getting treatment.
- Preference of other conditions such as bipolar, depression, eating disorders are just as high during adolescence.
- While teens look to alleviate symptomology with marijuana and vaping, this short-term relief will likely worsen the condition in time.
- Parents remain mindful of your child personality and needs and succumb to the NOVA traps and pressures of:
- Grade, or outcomes over effort & AP Course loads,
- Permissiveness over accountability
- College admissions as an indicator of success
- Impairment in daily function and/or inability to manage thoughts and feelings are reasons to seeking clinical interventions. Clinical support is not a one size fits all and may include medication.
- Consider other coping strategies
- Alpha Stim
- Exercise, Yoga, etc.
- Diet – reduced sugar & caffeine
- Sleep & Monitor artificial light – effects
- Unplug & Engage