A specialist in the treatment of anxiety disorders recently spoke with Loomis Chaffee faculty and parents about anxiety and depression in adolescents, an especially timely topic in the midst of the pandemic and a host of other uncertainties in the United States and the world.
The school invited Lynn Lyons, a licensed clinical social worker and respected psychotherapist who works with individuals, families, schools, and mental health professionals worldwide, to discuss and facilitate conversations about the causes of student anxiety and depression and to offer coping strategies for teenagers (and all of us).
"Loomis is deeply invested in the health and well-being of our students and feels that it is just as important to educate and equip our students to be able to manage the day-to-day stresses and life challenges that arise as it is to educate and equip them in the classroom,” Loomis Director of Counseling Julie Field said in her introduction of Ms. Lyons during a webinar for parents on Wednesday, September 9. “[Ms. Lyons’] work with our community is timely due to all the uncertainty many of us are feeling due to navigating a new normal that doesn't feel normal and is ever-changing.”
In her presentation to parents, "Shifting the Anxiety Paradigm from Avoidance to Action," Ms. Lyons coached parents to help their children manage anxiety by encouraging them toward problem-solving and positive actions, rather than trying to protect kids from the stressors of daily life.
Although the pandemic is a new source of worry for people, Ms. Lyons noted that the mental health challenges themselves predate the coronavirus. “Teen anxiety and depression were rising before COVID-19,” she said. The full impact of the pandemic on children’s mental health is not yet known, she added.
At the end of her presentations to faculty and parents, Ms. Lyons answered audience questions and shared resources for further study.
An interaction with Ms. Lyons and students is planned this school year.
Ms. Lyons’ work with the school was coordinated by Julie Field, Dean of Student Life Jess Matzkin, and Lena Sadowitz, director of Learning Access & Student Achievement, and was made possible by a grant from the Shenandoah Foundation.
Loomis community members may connect to a recording of Ms. Lyons’ September 9 webinar for parents through the Parent Portal of the school’s website.
Connect to Ms. Lyons’ professional website for more information and additional resources.