Day 10 (of 185) Lynn Miller Anxiety in #83learns

Day 10 (of 185) Lynn Miller Anxiety in #83learns

Love her opening about not assuming people are aware of what mental wellness issues look like and act like. 
So far? We are doing a poor job helping the general public understand mental illness


Of 1200 PVPs surveyed, 94% confirm mental health and well being an important factor to their academic life. It’s called Social Emotional Learning in schools. 

Did you know: Grade 3 comments are great predictors on G8 success just focusing on pro-social behaviours… aware of this stat

And…..Any kind of SEL program leads to higher academics, better attendance, like school more! #1 encourage friendships. 

Children’s Competencies:

Problem solving methods (forgot lunch or didn’t study – don’t rescue kids)

Ability to initiate, maintain and end friendships appropriately

Strong interpersonal skills

Adaptability/flexibility (cope in realistic manner – avoidant aggressive or assertive)

Stress management (ability to work well under pressure to resist/delay an impulse) <– this is the main reason why students drop out of universities – they can’t manage independently. 

Key child & adolescent mental disorders

Anxiety disorders 13%

Disruptive Behavioural (adhd odd cd) 10.3%

Mood 6.2%

Substance 2%

Any disorders. 20.9%
In other words – 1 in 5 at school. 
Autism? 1/2 of 1% so doesn’t even make this list….
Even eating disorders don’t quite make this list – but becomes more impactful for older years. 

Key growth for anxiety – age 5/6 – entry to school. And the pressure to do well at school begins…..

Esp when kids read anxiety of parent who suddenly has doubts…

Next age: 9. Math gets hard…brain develops from concrete applications to abstract thinking. Then puberty….

But anxiety is normal. Keeps you alive. Best viewed on continuum of low to high. 

Symptoms of anxiety:



Physical symptoms


–> you don’t get any correction to your thinking and it takes you to worse case scenarios. 

Anxiety is Normal:

Survival system (avoid separation from adults; aware of predators) – the smoke alarm of the body

Some kids over-sensitive. Certain preferences (esp for food clothing & tactile things)

Leads to fight-flight-freeze response

Anxiety is physical:

Arousal: heart rate, breathing, shaky, dizzy

Abdominal: nausea, stomachaches etc

Tension: headaches, muscle aches, fatigue

Sleep: insomnia & avoidance

Anxiety is developmental

Infant/toddlers: separation, novel

Preschool: Animals, dark, separation

School: adaptations, performance, family

Preadolescent: mortality, health

Adolescence: social, existential, future

Safety behaviours include:


Escape from situation


Reassurance seeking

Resistance to change

Self meds: nicotine and alcohol are typical suppressants. Shift more to marijuana – but has so many possible end effects (esp w paranoia a common side/after effect)

Common associated features

Depressed/irritable, cries easy

Fidgety, nervous habits (eg nail biting)

Headaches, upset stomach, pains

Overly dependent (clingy)

Perseverance, difficulty shifting tasks, resistance to change, inflexibility

Easily overwhelmed; gives up easily, low frustration tolerance

Difficulty demonstrating knowledge on tests or during classroom participation

Trouble coming to school or entering school/classroom 
GOTTA ASK: what are you thinking?
Frequently overlooked symptoms:

Angry outbursts

Oppositional and refusal behaviours

Temper tantrums

Attention seeking behaviours

Hyperactivity and difficulty sitting still

Attention and concentration problems

Scholastic underachievement or excessive resistance to doing work

Frequent visits to school office or physician

High number of missed school days

Difficulties with social or group activities 

General Overview:

 Most common mental health problem

12-20% affected

Impact and morbidity not widely recognized

Girls often have more fears than boys

Number and types of fears across cultures fairly consistent

Presence of one anxiety disorder increases risk of developing additional anxiety disorders 

Children and youth with anxiety disorders rarely receive appropriate or effective interventions

Types of anxiety disorders

Specific phobias

Separation anxiety disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder

Social anxiety disorder (first in adolescence most prevalent)

Panic disorder w/o agoraphobia

PTSD (treatment: talk about it talk about it talk about it)

Cause of anxiety: ?????
Some causes: genetics, life experiences, personality, cognitive style, family environment….
What MAINTAINS anxiety:

Avoidance, avoidance, AVOIDANCE

Anxious self-talk

Mistaken beliefs

Lack of assertiveness

Lack of self calming skills

Life stressors

Excessive reassurance seeking

Complications of untreated anxiety
Diminished educational and vocational achievement (drop out)

Bullied more than peers

Impaired social relationships

Subsequent depression, alcohol abuse, cigarette smoking

Greatest predictor of youth suicide

“Growing out of it is a myth”. 

Fundamentals (cognitive behaviour therapy)

1. Teach about anxiety

2. Relaxation tools

3. Helpful thinking

4. Facing fears

5. Relapse prevention 

“Friends” programs are designed for this.

Summary of night:
Anxiety disorders are highly prevalent, usually get worse without treatment, but are probably the MOST treatable of all mental health concerns. 

About technolandy

Principaling on the Pacific in Powell River BC Pushing 'technologization' in education: blending technology and curriculum seamlessly. Advocate for better understanding of Anxiety in Education (and use of self-regulation) Utilizing ePortfolios & Descriptive Feedback to personalize learning!
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