WACO, Texas — Students have been heading back to school all across central Texas. While being back can be exciting, it can also cause a lot of stress and anxiety.
There are a few ways parents can guide their students through school year stress.
Mental health experts say the best way to help is simply to ask. Ask children what went well and what went bad in the classroom and encourage them to open up about how it makes them feel.
Parents should also keep an eye on changing behavior. If you notice a change in your child’s sleep pattern, weight or appetite or and increase in irritability, there may be an underlying issue. Experts say parents shouldn’t be afraid to ask them directly about it.
It’s not just those in high school or middle school struggling with coming back to class, but also college aged students who are heading back to campus.
“I think the biggest issue for campuses right now is how to re-engage students,” Dr. Liz Jodoin with Manta Health told 25 News. “How to create that sense of belonging. How to get them back on campus and interacting with one another.”
According to Mantra Health, 73% of college students will face some sort of mental health challenge during their years on campus, but the majority of students never end up reaching out for help.
“What we see a lot unfortunately is that students are aware but they are afraid,” Dr. Jodoin said. “The stigma, you keep it in the family, you don’t talk about it, and it can become really scary and they don’t do it.”
Openly talking about mental health in your home or with your child can help break the stigma around those conversations and encourage them to reach out for help if they are struggling.
For those who need help in central Texas, the Heart of Texas Behavioral Health Network can be reached at (254) 297-7100.
The Suicide Prevention Hotline can now be reached via call or text at their new 988 number.
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