Mental Health in Students; the Real Pandemic

My topic focuses on Generalized Anxiety Disorder in students or GAD. I felt very inclined to research this topic because I felt like it needed more attention and that mental health is looked over a lot in school settings. I want to make more resources available to students that are struggling with anxiety because of all the benefits that come with making a change. 90% of teens can be stopped from possibly developing long term effects when they learn the necessary skills they need to cope. When students struggling with GAD don’t get these resources their anxiety can manifest into physical forms, like panic attacks or anxiety attacks, it also takes a significant toll on students’ ability to learn. While i’m still only reaching the surface with my research, the topics I am researching are very interesting to me and I want to continue to fully grasp the full effect of GAD.

I struggle with diagnosed anxiety and I used to have anxiety attacks in school, it wasn’t fun. I used to just start crying or shaking and it would get very hard to breathe. It was caused by built up fear or tension from the past couple days of intense anxiety, in my case it was to the point where my lips were constantly bleeding. The gums in my cheeks were also swollen because I would chew on them. These symptoms all went undiagnosed until a year after. I want to help other people that struggled with what I went through because it stopped me from enjoying playing my favorite sport, and made school exhausting every day. If I had been given the right resources then I know it would have helped me out a lot.

I also know that there was and still are other people like me that suffer in silence because of how invisible the symptoms are. They might not even understand the intense emotions they are feeling, or they might think it’s normal and that everyone feels that way. Experts believe that anxiety can be inherited, but it’s usually an imbalance of 2 chemicals in the brain (norepinephrine and serotonin). Having anxiety go untreated can lead to long term effects such as heart problems, anxiety has also been known to cause people to go into a depressive state. I want to stop this ignorance and bring light to the subject so mental health can be talked about without people getting “uncomfortable”.

Anxiety also affects a large part of learning, and can make being in a public setting like school very difficult. It makes it hard for students to keep up with their peers or process information. Some of the signs are inattention, restlessness, trouble answering questions, problems in certain subjects, not turning in homework, and even avoiding socializing. Anxiety also goes hand in hand with learning disabilities and can cause students to fall behind, making them even more anxious in class. It tends to “lock up the brain” making school very challenging. It is even harder for children and teens to realize what they are experiencing is severe anxiety. Usually their symptoms are just brushed off or mistaken as a complaint or a headache. Teachers and parents need to be there for their kids and help them get diagnosed.

My research has helped me understand how much of school is truly affected by GAD, it takes a huge toll on your mental wellbeing and your education. It comprises so much of your life. While I’m still only learning about the long term effects I am eager to learn more. As anxiety is on the rise while mental wellbeing is on the decline in recent years bringing awareness to mental health is even more important. If all it takes is an open mind then I think if we work together we can make mental health normal and help accessible.

Link to my annotated bibliography !