Culture of Caring

Anxiety Disorder? Not My Kid!

Why should your children be screened for anxiety? Nothing is wrong with them. They are too young to have mental health disorders!

That is incorrect.

My son had an anxiety disorder when he was very young. I just didn’t know it. He had trouble making decisions and was often uncomfortable in unfamiliar situations. He also had depression. He was very bright but after he started junior high, he hated getting up every morning and going to school.

If he were 8 years old today, his pediatrician might have started screening him for anxiety during his annual checkups. He might also have been diagnosed with depression in his early teens. He would have been treated with therapy and possibly medication. If his anxiety and depression had been recognized and addressed when he was a child, it’s likely he would still be alive today.  

The youth mental health crisis we are experiencing now is real. So if your child has not been screened for anxiety or depression, please don’t think they are too young. Ask your pediatrician and make it a regular part of annual health screening. You could save a life.

A Culture of Caring: A Suicide Prevention Guide for Schools (K-12) was created as a resource for educators who want to know how to get started and what steps to take to create a suicide prevention plan that will work for their schools and districts. It is written from my perspective as a school principal and survivor of suicide loss, not an expert in psychology or counseling. I hope that any teacher, school counselor, psychologist, principal, or district administrator can pick up this book, flip to a chapter, and easily find helpful answers to the questions they are likely to have about what schools can do to prevent suicide.

Theodora Schiro