I recently saw the insightful movie, Angst. It was presented by my local school system and the Horizon Foundation. The movie gives insight into what it is like for students who struggle with anxiety and other mental health challenges as depression. The movie mentioned some alarming statistics about teens struggling with anxiety and many of them with it starting by age 14.
There were basically three messages conveyed in the film. First, that the student is not alone. This is a big concern as many students feel they are the only one struggling and may not share their thoughts and feelings. Second, that there is hope. Sometimes just a little ray of hope can motivate a person to seek help. Lastly, that there are resources and services available for those struggling with anxiety and other mental health issues.
The film also discussed some common anxiety triggers for students like worrying over tests and grades, social media and public speaking. The discussion after the film did mention that anxiety often has a heredity component associated with it. Also, it was mentioned how to approach someone who you may suspect has anxiety by asking questions. Asking question as “how are you feeling today?” or “I have noticed that you don’t seem yourself lately, can you talk to me about that?” Sometimes talking side by side in a short car ride is less intimidating for someone with anxiety instead of face to face. Also, if someone is not open to talking, then it may be good to ask them to when they are available to talk? It was suggested that parents should continue to encourage discussion and should not be in denial about their concern.
A very encouraging part of the film is when Michael Phelps surprises a little boy who is struggling with anxiety and shares his struggles. Michael Phelps was very sincere in the film and helped lesson the stigma that is often associated with mental health challenges. Seeing this interaction was truly inspiring.
Some other important take aways are to encourage students to express their feelings, having discussions and communication, finding coping mechanisms that support them (for example: deep breathing, yoga, listening to music, journaling and meditation) and assisting the student in finding resources.
This film is being offered at schools. If you don’t see it in your school district, ask them to get it. I would highly recommend that parents go see this movie with their children or encourage their children to see it.
Here is a link to check out where it is playing…
By Robin Bartko
Robin is a Certified Health Education Specialist and Health Coach. To learn more about Robin, go to WellnessGirlfriend.com or email her at Robin@WellnessGirlfriend.com