Mental health and heading back-to-school

A Mental Health Coordinator was approved for Bay District Schools. (MGN)
A Mental Health Coordinator was approved for Bay District Schools. (MGN)(WJHG)
Published: Aug. 29, 2019 at 8:10 AM CDT
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A recently released study says 39% of South Dakota high schoolers feel symptoms of depression and anxiety.

But, it's not just adolescents that can develop those feelings.

Kids of all ages can start to feel anxious, and there are a few signs to look for in your child.

One way is to look at yourself. If heading back to school causes feelings of anxiousness in your household, kids are like sponges and can develop the same behaviors. Be sure to model calm, confident behavior when helping a child get ready for school.

Other signs include continually asking about their schedules, if they are irritable, not listening, or isolating themselves. Some of the same symptoms do show up in teens, as well.

"It is finding that balance of recognizing their irritability or change in their hormones, as well as, how much they are engaging in those activities, their motivation," Lindsay Neth, Avera Outpatient Triage Service Coordinator, said. "Are they sad more often? Are they having difficulty getting out of bed? Are they worried about little day-to-day things, as well as, are they worried about the on-going performance of different activities of their schoolwork?"

For students that are seeing some of the same symptoms in their peers should talk to someone, you can trust.

"At the end of the day it is finding a trusted individual whether it's a teacher that you know that the student gets along with," Neth said. "It's the school counselor; it's the superintendent, the principal. Finding someone that could just check in on your friend the more that you guy try to encourage them to participate. I think it's a true sign of where they are at emotionally."

If you are concerned your child may have depression or anxiety, you are encouraged to talk with your doctor or call the Helpline Center at 211.

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