When we become anxious our body prepares itself for some form of physical action, often called the ‘FLIGHT or FIGHT’ reaction. This describes the physiological response to acute stress – where the body prepares to fight or flee from perceived danger.
The person will probably notice a number of physical changes including the ones below.
For many children & young people basic ‘emotional first aid’ to understand and normalise the difficult feelings anxiety can bring will be very effective.
This can help children and young people understand why their heart might race before an exam or they feel sick when they go somewhere new.
This might be something you offer to a group of children or to individuals.
Help them identify an anxiety trigger - you could you this worksheet to help.
It can help to write it down/draw it out. Teenagers might write down their worries in a journal. Children could post their worries into a worry box so that it can be looked at with someone they trust.
Children can be black and white in their thinking. This can mean they only see success or catastrophe in a situation; help them to think about other possible outcomes.
Avoiding the thing or situation that provokes the anxiety is an understandable instinct. However this gives the anxiety ‘control’ rather than working through the feelings it brings and ‘proving’ that the anxiety was wrong. The person might have to build up to this in small steps with your support; reminding them the feelings will pass. Maybe they faced this problem before and need reminding they can do it again.
Practising relaxation techniques so that they can use them in moments when the anxiety level is high will help. Taking some deep breaths will help to calm down the physical symptoms of anxiety.
Encourage them to find activities that distract them from worries. Spending time with friends, playing sports, relaxation exercises are useful to many.
Worrying usually focuses on the past or future - mindfulness can help children and young people focus attention on the here and now.
Younger Children may find The Turtle Technique a helpful way of taking a moment to calm down when they feel anxious –find out more *here*.
If the child or young person continues to struggle, and it is impacting on their ability to enjoy and thrive - they may need additional support and onward referral into specialist services should be considered.
'Freeze Fight Flight' poster
Anxiety trigger worksheet
Healthy Minds: A scheme of work about mental health - key stage 3 - a set of 4 lesson plans from Islington Council's Health and Wellbeing Team.
Charlie Waller resources:
- Social media and teenagers
- Wellbeing action plan - key stage 2 and 3
- Depression warning signs
- Young people who self harm - guide for school staff
- Coping with your low mood
- An emotionally healthy approach to GCSE's (parents)
- An emotionally healthy approach to GCSE's (pupils)
- An emotionally healthy approach to GCSE's (school)
- Parents guide to depression
The CARE animation is a short animation for all school and college staff that recognises the importance of supporting children and young people’s mental health in schools and colleges, and offers a simple principle for staff to remember; CARE. (Curious, Approachable, Refer, Empathy). It is aimed at all School staff, including support staff and those who may not have direct contact with pupils. The animation can be used in one of the following ways:
- On a staff training day.
- In a staff briefing or team meeting.
- Send the animation and resources out in a staff bulletin.
You can watch the CARE animation and download the accompanying guidance and poster at www.annafreud.org/careanimation.
'All Our Health' free, bite-sized e-learning sessions (Public Health England) - to improve the knowledge, confidence and skills of health and care professionals in preventing illness, protecting health and promoting wellbeing.
The sessions cover some of the biggest issues in public health including;
- Childhood obesity
- Alcohol misuse
- Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
They contain signposting to trusted sources of helpful evidence, guidance and support to help professionals embed prevention in their everyday practice.
- Fighting Invisible Triggers - Earl Hipp.
- The Teenage Guide to Stress - Nicola Morgan.
- My Anxious Mind - Michael Tompkins & Katherine Martinez.
- The Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook for Teens - Jennifer Shannon.
- The Anxiety Survival Guide for Teens - Jennifer Shannon.
- Mind Your Head - Juno Dawson.
How Can We Help?
Just One Number Call to speak to a health professional by phoning 0300 300 0123. They will be able to provide initial advice and support and guide next steps with us or signpost you to other more relevant agencies and professionals. It is available 08.00 to 18.00 Monday to Friday and 09.00 to 13.00 on Saturdays.
Referrals for support are made by contacting Just One Number on 0300 300 0123. Please make sure you have the consent of the parent and / or young person before you make a referral to us. You do not need to fill out any paperwork prior to this call.
Referrals are made via the telephone to enable us to have an informative conversation with you at the point of referral so we can ensure we have all the required information for early triage and assessment of the child, young person or family. This will ensure the referral gets managed by the appropriate team in a more timely way or we can signpost you to a more appropriate service.
ChatHealth Children and Young people can access us through our text messaging service on 07480635060. They will be able to discuss any health concerns with one of our Practitioners and also be able to request an appointment if they would prefer to meet with us.
Parent Line Parents can access our services by texting our number 07520631590 . This allows them to access the advice and support from a clinician about any health issues affecting their children aged 0-19.
Just One Norfolk Health Passport app Young people age 16-19 can download this app on Apple or Android phones. It provides young people age 16-19 with general health information and advice to increase health literacy. It signposts to services and promotes self care. It aims to increase resilience and wellbeing and to find out how to access health services.
Health Unlocked Parents can be signposted to this. It is a carefully monitored online community forum which allows local parents and carers to talk with each other regarding issues affecting their children. This can be accessed through our Just One Norfolk website.
Solihull Parenting Online For our Norfolk parents there is the opportunity to access this free of charge through Just One Norfolk. It supports parents in understanding their children from 0-19 via 4 modules. Staff working with children and families will also benefit from this – or they can book to do the two day Solihull Training provided by our service by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. While COVID-19 restrictions are in place please contact Karin Bibby to register your interest in virtual training as this becomes available.