Studies suggest that one in three high schoolers have anxiety disorders – a percentage that has risen by 50 percent since 2011. While the constant lingering fear of college on the horizon and pressure to get good grades are not new to teenagers, they have only seemed to worsen through the years.
Wayne Hills’ students are certainly not excluded from the millions of teens that face high anxiety today. The Guidance Department is constantly trying to help students deal with anxiety, through traditional methods, as well as more hands-on activities throughout the year.
“There are often times when students will come in talking about being overwhelmed and stressed and they don’t really know how to explain or understand how they feel, so in the counseling department, we try to work through those situations and try to find solutions as to helping,” said Nicole Sandas, guidance counselor.
Recently, the school media center created a “Zen Den,” an electronic-free zone where students can unplug and relax with their friends and classmates. These efforts, along with the various wellness activities and Wellness Weekends, are all in hopes to relieve student anxiety.
However, students still don’t seem to feel like WHHS is doing enough for anxiety.
“I think to fix student anxiety we need less work and for the school to be less pushy. I don’t think Wellness Wednesdays are doing anything to help that,” says Leah Rodgers, Junior.
“No, I don’t think Wayne Hills is doing enough. I think they are trying, but they just aren’t doing the right things,” states Gabby Cinelli, senior.
As a result, students have developed their own coping mechanisms to help deal with stress.
“I try to cope with anxiety in school through breathing techniques, removing myself from the classroom, going to the bathroom,” Cinelli adds.
“I try to cope with anxiety by cleaning, I kind of have OCD,” Rodgers said.
While school wellness activities are efficient in theory, student anxiety can only be tackled by a change in the environment in which they live; this can take form in home life, school, or society as a whole.
And while some feel the school is not doing enough for student anxiety, others feel that they may be overdoing it.
“I am sympathetic to the anxiety that high school students are feeling, but I do think that there needs to be a balance between recognizing that and giving students the skills to deal with tough challenges out in the real world,” says Michael Shale, history teacher.
Though people have differing opinions as to how to battle anxiety, and how much is too much, the cause of it is something that most can agree with. Throughout the years, with a recent spike in social media, the rates of anxiety in teens is rising quickly.
According to the U.S. News, “Numerous studies have also found that as hours per day increase on smartphones, laptops and other “screens,” rates of happiness, life satisfaction, and self-esteem fall”, says EJ Mundell.
Does Social Media contribute to anxiety and mental illness? Let The Patriot Press know by commenting on this article.