Schools share tips on how to beat anxiety at film screening

BY KIRSTEN ISBELL
Clarkston News Intern Writer
Clarkston for Life and Clarkston Community Schools host a screening of the documentary “Angst” on Thursday, Nov. 15, 7-8:30 p.m., at Clarkston High School Media Center.
The film, which is free and open to the public, includes practical tips to help manage stress and anxiety.
“This is an extreme priority for us. If our students are not in a place where we can reach them, what does it matter what we are trying to teach them? Life is a struggle and we want to highlight there is a difference between mental health and normal things we go through,” said CCS Superintendent Shawn Ryan.
“The staff appreciated digging deeper and want to continue the conversations they were having. They broke off into groups and discussed what does it look like in students and in themselves,” said Staci Puzio, administrator of student growth and well-being. “We want to continue this conversation about anxiety. Finding a piece of gratitude can help us reframe our mind and sharing with one another. When we are able to share the things we are thankful for it opens up a window of opportunity for us to say we are struggling today.”
Angst is a film of interviews of students who are struggling with anxiety, how they feel and what happens in their minds. Mental health professionals share how to help those struggling.
One of Ryan’s goals this year is to make the community aware of mental health and that it needs to be brought to light. There are many students in the district who are struggling and it is important the community is aware of signs of mental health struggles in order to help our students and even each other.
School staff watched the documentary and had group conversations after watching it. The purpose was to learn how to help students manage anxiety and stress.
Tips for teachers included encouraging students and not be dismissive of how they might be feeling. Anxiety includes Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Attacks, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder(OCD), and Social Anxiety.
It can makes those affected freeze in the moment or struggle to perform daily tasks such as walking into a classroom.
Tips for those struggling with anxiety include listening to music or reading a book for five minutes, hold ice cubes, focus on breathing, or laughing. A few long-term tips to help reduce anxiety include getting 8-9 hours of sleep every night, relaxing, time management, and exercising.
Senior Pastor Jonathan Heierman of Calvary Evangelic Lutheran Church spoke after the film was shown last month.
“Our community is blessed with resources and tools. There is help and you can get better,” Heierman said. “We are busy people and how do we prioritize those things and finding a safe place to be getting better. There are a couple of opportunities for those who might want more information.”
The November screening is a continuation of the conversation.
“This is a time for family members to come together and leaders in the communities and even adults struggling,” Heierman added.
“Just having an opportunity to explore this further. Beginning after the first of the year we would like to establish a support group or networks for parents and families.”
For more information, please check out the Angst website at www.angstmovie.com.