This morning I attended the ‘Managing Anxiety’ meet up organised by some local primary mental health workers. The session was advertised via three Brighton secondary schools, aimed at parents and carers. At first, it felt like an AA meeting (not that that is a bad thing) as I nervously joined the group sitting in a circle. Strangely only parents from one school attended. This highlights the issue of communications and how you get the good word out there. Time of day may also have been a factor.

Listening to other parents talking openly (albeit anonymously) about their teens’ problems illustrated clear patterns of behaviors related directly to anxiety including pressure of school – especially attendance targets, panic attacks, lack of sleep, isolation…

Of course, some of these problems are age old as kids hit adolescence and become socially dysfunctional – we were told about a study the proved that the level of stress an adolescent experiences by just being looked at is far higher than an adult, as they have a heightened sense of themselves. However, the majority of discussions were taken up talking about screen dependency and the added pressures social media can have on our teens.

The culmination of these honest heart-felt stories make Brighton5 all the more crucial. If kids are all over social, then we owe it to them and ourselves to use that medium to create positive ways of tackling difficult issues. It is glaringly obvious that younger teens need other older teen role models, for help, advice and friendship.

Bring on the girls. Bring on the Brighton5.

Useful links provided at the meeting:
Hey Sigmund – written in language children can understand
And this book about overcoming anxiety in kids – a must read apparently

P.S. If you came to the meeting this morning, please get in touch (tab top right of page)