Posted on: 2018-11-09 09:00:00

Because “anxiety” is such an everyday term, it can be easy to forget what it actually means.  And that can be a shame, because for some students anxiety means they never achieve the results in school that could and indeed should be theirs.

At its simplest anxiety is a worry about a future event. The worry does not have to be realistic to affect behaviour, and sadly simply telling a person there is nothing to worry about or “you’ll be fine” often does not help at all.

Indeed such comments can make matters worse for an anxious student, because to the teenager the anxiety is completely real, as real as any pain following any injury, but quite often far more debilitating. That it is irrational, only makes it worse.

And here we see the problem that we as teachers face.  If we have not suffered from anxiety it is hard to appreciate how debilitating it is and how difficult it is to overcome.

Worry about the future is built in to all of us; indeed it helps stop us taking too many risks.  Anxiety, however, is worry that is out of control and unrealistic.  A desperate concern about what will happen in specific situations which has nothing to do with what actually happens.

Indeed no matter how many times the individual faces that worry and comes through it satisfactorily, the anxiety can be just as strong next time.

Worse, after a while each anxiety episode builds up, so in the end it is always there in the background or foreground, never allowing the student to relax or escape.

Fortunately one short-term intervention programme with students who suffer in this way can result in a wholly different outcome.  One in which anxiety is reduced to more normal levels.

Such a change can be achieved through a short period of intervention with a small group of secondary school students – and the big bonus is that there is external funding available for this type of intervention so that there is no cost at all to the school.

If you feel that you have some students in your school who are not reaching their full potential because of anxiety or related issues, and you would like to make use of external funding to help these students, I would ask you to get in touch.

We have already worked with numerous schools across the country and now have additional time and funding available to come to your school and work with the students you nominate. There are more details of our work with pupils with anxiety at on the Anxiety section of our website.

Tony Attwood
Source: The Schools' News Service

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