Schools are seeing an increase in social anxiety in students, particularly in elementary schools.
According to Jessica Duncanson, director of Student Services at Pembroke Schools, social/emotional learners struggle with “managing stress, being able to handle their emotions, interact and collaborate with peers and make responsible decisions overall.” Pembroke Superintendent of Schools Erin Obey has stated that the need to provide social/emotional support is a district wide goal.
Duncanson states that difficulty with social/emotional areas keeps students from achieving academic success and well being emotionally. “What research has shown is that students who have these competencies are better able to achieve overall,” Duncanson said.
Pembroke schools along with other schools in the area are seeing social anxiety on the rise in students, especially at the elementary school level. School psychologist Erica Pearson reports that instances of substance abuse, diagnoses of ADHD and communication disabilities, and psychiatric hospitalization are on the rise.
“We’re seeing an increase in major mental illness in public schools,” said high school social worker Holly Gerety.