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Since 1949, May has been the designated month for Mental Health Awareness. Each year LDA joins the movement to help fight stigma, provide support, educate the public, and advocate for individuals with learning disabilities who also struggle with mental health issues. This month we are focusing on anxiety.

Characteristics of Anxiety: 

  • Students with anxiety may have difficulty processing information because they are preoccupied with worries and fears. They may not be attending to what is being said to them or what they are seeing. 
  • They may have difficulty regulating their emotions and may have problems with executive function because they are overwhelmed by the worries surrounding them.  
  • Students may experience or complain of health issues such as stomachaches and headaches.

Facts About Anxiety: 

  • Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older. 
  • Anxiety disorders affect 25.1% of children between 13 and 18 years old.
  • Research shows that untreated children with anxiety disorders are at higher risk of performing poorly in school, miss out on important social experiences, and engage in substance abuse. 
  • Anxiety disorders also often co-occur with other disorders such as depression and ADHD.
  • Childhood Anxiety Disorders: Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Separation Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder

Strategies: 

  • Relaxation: What the body needs is a daily practice of a relaxation technique – like deep breathing, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, imagery – that has a physical effect on the mind. These techniques help to send a message to the entire body to let go and loosen up. The use of screen time to “relax” can actually increase anxiety or provide only temporary relaxation.
  • Get enough sleep, nourishment, and exercise
  • Connect with others: Doing things with others helps to deepen our bonds, allowing us to feel supported and secure. It also gives you someone to talk to who cares about you, and that can help you feel more understood and better able to cope. 
  • Connect with nature: Going for a walk in the park, a hike in the woods, or a bike ride can help anyone feel peaceful and grounded. 
  • Pay attention to the good things: A great way to keep our minds off the “worry track” is to focus our thoughts on things that are good, beautiful, and positive.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 
  • Psychoeducation Tools

Resources: