Services are in the works to help students who are experiencing back-to-school anxiety.
The International Health Providers Medical group seeks to provide proactive and accessible mental health services to students throughout the island embarking on a new school year.
According to Andri Baynum, a behavioral health provider at IHP, with over 15 years of experience in mental health and education, he has observed a prevalence of anxiety and depression among children and young teens during the first weeks of a new school term and beyond.
In an effort to equip students with the necessary tools to navigate new territory, students K-12 may avail IHP’s back-to-school anxiety screening.
In an interview with PNC, Baynum explained how the evidence-based assessment works. He said, “So we’ll do the assessment it takes about 15-20 minutes, and then we’ll do the scoring, and then we’ll call in the person, the child, the teen, with the parents to discuss some of the issues that may be of concern. Then, we’ll give some tips and coping skills on how to manage this as they go throughout their school year.”
In addition to feelings of anxiousness surrounding a new chapter, data from the World Health Organization suggests that social isolation due to the pandemic is partly attributed to a 25% global increase in anxiety and depression during the first year of the pandemic.
Relatedly, as students transitioned from in-person to virtual learning, Baynum expanded on how the pandemic may have affected the mental health of some but not all students.
Mr. Baynum said, “I have seen several teens from various schools on Guam and various ages come in for that particular reason– they lost confidence in themselves, I guess, they lose all of the things they’ve learned, how to study and everything because it all changed for them. So, coming back and trying to find that route that works best for them in their educational career was something that caused a lot of anxiety for them.”
Baynum encourages individuals to view mental health through the lens of taking care of their physical health. Adding that in addition to taking proactive measures to prevent ailments like heart disease, individuals should be proactive in taking care of their mental wellness.
Rebecca Balajadia, clinic manager at IHP, said that the clinic aims to provide accessible care to everyone, including those with and without insurance.
The screening is priced at $99 and is ongoing until September 30th. For more details, individuals can contact IHP at: (671) 633-4447 or through Whatsapp at (671) 480-3833.