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In the district’s “Mental Health Matters” initiative, parents can attend the next session that deals with anxiety on Oct. 28. CONTRIBUTED

MCS to offer workshop for coping with anxiety

MADISON – Madison City Schools is continuing its “Mental Health Matters” initiative on Oct. 28 with the “Helping Students Cope with Anxiety” workshop.

The session is free for school parents and Madison residents. Parents can attend any individual workshop that interests them or attend all.

MCS and Madison City Council of PTAs are partnering to provide these workshop sessions to bring deeper understanding about ways to support mental health of youth. Mental health professionals are leading all sessions.

The hour-long session dealing with anxiety will start at 9 a.m. on Oct. 28 at MCS Central Office, 211 Celtic Drive.

“Anxiety is the most common mental disorder,” according to National PTA sources. “Each year, 18 percent of American adults experience anxiety, and 31 percent have had anxiety at some point in their lives.”

In addition, approximately eight percent of children and adolescents also experience anxiety each year, PTA sources stated.

Several types of anxiety disorders exist:

* General Anxiety Disorder — Persistent and uncontrolled worry, along with negative thoughts. The subject of worry can be actual events or for no apparent reason.

* Panic Disorder — Sudden, intense fear that produces powerful physical symptoms that last a few minutes. A specific trigger can cause panic attacks.

* Social Anxiety Disorder — Intense fear of social situations due to negative judging or embarrassment from other people.

* Separation Anxiety Disorder –Fear that a relative or friend will stay gone forever, and the person with anxiety will be left alone.

* Phobia Disorder — Intense, irrational fear of potential danger in a situation.

Symptoms of anxiety disorders cover a wide range of behaviors. The person may feel dread or on edge. They can experience nervousness, irritability or restlessness. Worry is common with a sense of danger or panic and always expecting the worst scenario to occur.

Physically, the person can experience increased heart rate, chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating or nausea. Difficulty in concentrating and insomnia can occur.

Other common complaints are headaches, stomach aches, frequent urination or diarrhea.

Anxiety is more than feeling ‘stressed out,’ according to PTA sources. Anxiety is a serious medical condition — not a weakness in a person’s personality.

People with anxiety disorder often know when they are overacting, but they can’t control their worry, fears or ‘get over it.’

Fortunately, people can manage anxiety disorders by leading a healthy lifestyle, having a strong support system and learning coping strategies.

For more information, call 256-464-8370, or visit madisoncity.k12.al.us, click the “Parents & Students” dropdown menu, and click “Mental Health Matters.”

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