It seems as if every time you turn on the news, something terrible is happening in the world. School or college is supposed to be your escape from all of that. Granted, sometimes you need a break from school itself. But, for the most part, it’s the safe zone where you are sheltered from all the terrible things happening in the world. Unfortunately, there has been a rise in school shootings over the past few decades.
Mass shootings are happening more frequently, and it is downright terrifying. They shouldn’t happen anywhere, but especially in schools. If you are growing up in this time where school shooting drills are more commonplace than field trips, you have likely filled up with anxiety anytime you hear of another one. Most of us are, honestly. From parents, family members, school administration, and everyone in between. We all get this awful sinking feeling in our stomachs when news breaks of another one.
If you are becoming fearful about returning to school or what the year may bring, know you are not alone. Here are a few gentle ways to face your fears about returning to school.
Talk to other people about your anxiety
If you are scared about the possibility of a school shooting, don’t be afraid to talk to an adult you trust about these worries. It is not going to be surprising to any adult that the number of school shootings becoming more frequent is causing your anxiety level to spike. It’s true that it’s a different time and school atmosphere than what your parents or your friend’s parents grew up in. While they may not be familiar with being a student during this time, they will certainly understand this fear.
Especially talk to your friends. No one will understand better than the people who are in the halls with you every day. In fact, many schools are also starting up support groups to talk about these heavy topics. If one hasn’t started already, talk to your school guidance counselor about getting one of these groups going for anyone who needs to talk about it.
Limit media usage
We’re all glued to our phones. Staying connected has never been easier. However, too much social media or news coverage can damage mental health, regardless of age. Don’t be afraid to stop scrolling through your feed looking for updates. While it’s important to stay current on what is happening in the world, you don’t have to stay glued to your device.
With all the bad things that happen in the world, giving yourself a break from it all will have a positive impact on you. The constant exposure to hearing about school shootings, especially in the month or two afterward, can make you feel as if a ton of bricks is lying right on your chest every time.
School shootings should never happen. Period. But, also, try to remind yourself that compared to the number of school days in a year, these occurrences are still pretty rare.
Reach out for support from a mental health professional
Sometimes, you just need someone to talk to. You might not have family or friends with whom you feel comfortable discussing heavy topics. That is okay. We all have certain types of people we turn to for some stuff but not others.
As a licensed therapist, I get it. I understand the toll that being placed in a situation where you don’t feel completely safe can make you feel overwhelmed, sad, and scared. As a human, I understand it even more. If you need to find support for your fears of going to school, don’t hesitate to reach out for anxiety treatment for teenagers or childhood anxiety therapy.