Where do I go to find the right help for my student?
Teachers have also told us that they are unsure where to go for helpful information about how to respond to students with anxiety.
Learning about strategies to support students with high anxiety is helpful. But that’s not the end of the story. Participating in training and learning new skills are important, but they’re not enough. This is because training by itself is not enough, and one-off training rarely achieves desired outcomes.
There are some key things you can do to ensure that you’re best placed to help children manage anxiety at your school.
Understand the extent to which students are showing heightened levels of anxiety at your school
A survey of school staff and students will tell you which children are experiencing anxiety and the extent to which teachers are responding to this issue. A survey can also demonstrate whether teachers feel they have the required skills and knowledge to respond to students and the skills they would like to develop.
Once you have a better understanding of the extent to which anxiety is occurring at your school, it may be time to organise training – whether engaging with online webinars or training or a formal session led by an expert
Develop a protocol or guidelines
It can be hard to know who to contact within the school, when they work or even what they can offer teachers. It can be helpful if all of this information is kept in a central place, kept up to date and easily accessible by all staff. There is information on this website about some of the external resources that exist to support school staff.
Create and maintain a list of external resources
It may sound simple, but having the contact details of local child and family psychologists – or even information on online programs – can be enormously helpful when talking to parents. Developing internal school processes, creating and maintaining external referrals, and evaluating whether these supports are even working need to be undertaken by an identified staff member.
Check in with staff
Check in at a staff meeting to determine whether the new internal processes and referrals are working, or whether staff think that different or additional supports are required.
School staff have an important role in supporting children who are anxious – and training teachers to support students is essential. Training is most successful when the new learnings are embedded at the school level. This doesn’t have to be expensive, time-consuming or overwhelming. But setting up these support systems will mean that both teachers and students will feel supported and that anxiety is less likely to feel like a big problem at your school.
In the video below, Dr Sally Fitzpatrick from the Centre for Emotional Health and Department of Psychology at Macquarie University and Everymind talks to teachers and educators about how to develop school practices to support students with anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Watch the video or download the tip sheet.
Content owner: Centre for Emotional Health Last updated: 14 May 2020 2:08pm