Returning to School Can Increase Student Anxiety

Returning to the classroom during a pandemic and after the summer break can increase students’ anxiety levels to where medical assistance is needed.

Returning to school means new and exciting times for your children, but it can also trigger anxiety issues that vary from child to child.

“The transition from the relative freedom of a typical summer schedule to the highly structured world of school can be stressful for many children and teens,” said Ken Jones, psychologist and director of behavioral health at Texas Health Arlington Memorial. “Because not everyone experiences success within their school environment, whether socially or academically, it can be anxiety-provoking to return to a setting in which they may not feel good about themselves.”

According to the Western Journal of Medicine, anxiety is the most common psychiatric problem in children, with 12 to 20% of students facing anxiety when returning to school. The majority of these students are between the ages of 13 and 18.

“While a general sense of apprehension, along with sadness that the summer is drawing to a close can be absolutely normal, it is important to be aware and watch for serious signs of anxiety,” Jones said.

“Significant changes such as shifts in mood, isolation, upset stomach, sleep disturbance, and high agitation can signal deeper levels of distress and may warrant having your child assessed by a mental health professional,” he added.

Jones says there are many ways to address childhood anxiety.

“The key is for parents to listen and validate their child’s concerns before offering suggestions and support,” he said. “Particular anxiety-provoking situations may necessitate different types of parental response, from support and encouragement for kids who seem overwhelmed with schoolwork, to monitoring and proactive intervention for children who are facing the fear associated with being bullied.”

For more information or if you believe your child needs behavioral health support, contact Texas Health at 682-549-7916.

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