There’s no doubt that high school is an anxious time. Almost one in three adolescents will meet the criteria of an anxiety disorder before the age of 18, according to a study from the Child Mind Institute.
Carlmont will be hosting a showing of ‘Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety’ in the Carlmont Performing Arts Center on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. in the hope of starting a conversation around the problem of anxiety in teenagers. There will be a student panel afterward, and several mental health organizations will be running resource tables.
Principal Ralph Crame is one of the many people in the administration working to improve the issue. He recently attended EdSurge Fusion, a conference that brings together district level leaders to share ideas and improve learning environments across the nation.
The problem of student stress was brought to the administration’s attention last year because of their visit from WASC, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, which provides Carlmont with accreditation.
“[We want to] see what we can do to implement a more conducive learning environment,” Crame said. “We need to address the needs of the whole child without ignoring the curriculum and the content because that’s really important, but I think our teachers do a phenomenal job with that already.”
Shelley Bustamante, another advocate at Carlmont for student mental health, believes that Carlmont is leading the charge in the area of helping students cope.
“Carlmont is the only high school who utilizes both the crisis therapist/SOS coordinator and each school counselor’s skills to provide supportive interventions for students in crisis,” Bustamante said. “On other campuses in the district, the emotional needs of students are left to outside agencies and therapists.”
Carlmont also showed ‘Angst’ to all of the teachers to give them some perspective on the issue. Teachers were able to better understand the prevalence of anxiety and depression in high schools everywhere.
“I thought it was pretty relatable, and I’m happy to see that it’s raising awareness for anxiety and depression,” said Ryan Chung, a math teacher at Carlmont.
Anxiety is a big problem everywhere, especially in as stressful of an environment as high school, and seeing the school and administration step in to help students can be reassuring to students.
“I think that today’s students are coping with anxiety, not necessarily school anxiety, but social anxiety,” said Crame. “They’re dealing with anxiety about getting into the college they want to get into it, about their grades, about what their peers are doing. Social media and society today has created a lot of situations where students are stressed, and how can we help alleviate some of that stress?”