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Safely Back to School: Helping kids with anxiety and depression as they prepare for school

Posted at 12:03 PM, Jul 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-27 09:42:18-04

GRAND RAPIDS — There’s no doubt that teens and college aged students are facing more anxiety and depression these days, and it's not just for one reason.

It ranges from everything like social isolation, to feelings of being let down from plans, to virtual learning and what school will look, even increased tensions on social media. Dr. Angela Andrews with Mercy Health Physician Partners says one big thing to help them through those emotions is helping them understand to be flexible. But, while embracing that it’s also important to still create structure in their lives and help them set realistic expectations.

“Teens and young people, they don't have the kind of foresight, developmentally, they're not there. They don't have the life experience. So helping them to really reevaluate their goals and set realistic targets because part of what gets them down is. I was expecting X, Y, and Z and it didn't happen. So teaching them those skills now because it will come in handy as adults,” she said.

Dr. Andrews also said some things to look out for is if they start complaining about things they don’t normally complain about. She also said with young adults, anxiety and depression can manifest as physical symptoms like being extra tired, or having headaches or stomach aches.

Dr. Andrews says a great place to start if you have concerns is by reaching out your pediatrician.