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Olathe Schools offering course about kids with anxiety

Posted at 4:33 PM, Jul 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-19 18:03:49-04

OLATHE, Kan. — Olathe Schools are thinking ahead.

The school district is working to address mental health within their student body.

"Last year, we had a very comprehensive study with community members, staff members, students and we envisioned what we want our students to have once they graduate with the class of 2032," Angie Salava with Olathe Public Schools said.

The 2032 class will start kindergarten this year.

As part of that plan, the district wants every student to not only have traditional learning, but have mental health skills.

"With that focus, we started thinking about how can we help our parents. How can we help our parents instill some of these skills into our students?" Salava said.

That's why the district came up with a five-week course for parents that have children with anxiety.

Olathe Public Schools recently got data back showing 52 percent of their elementary school students and 68 percent of their middle and high school students are struggling with anxiety.

With the first day of school coming up, teachers and staff know it can be stressful. That's why they are doing this course sooner rather than later.

"This is going to focus not only those with normal anxieties, but those that just don't leave. So, when a student is concerned or anxious even though they have been in school a couple of weeks. When they stop doing normal things because they are that anxious," Salava explained.

According to the CDC, 4.4 million children between the ages of two and 17 have diagnosed anxiety. Within those kids, one in three can have behavior problems.

At the Olathe sessions, counselors will show parents how they can spot the signs of anxiety and give them ways they can help their student.

"Anytime parents have an opportunity to get more tools in their tool box we absolutely encourage that," Salava said.

The course starts on Sept. 12 and runs every Thursday until Oct. 10 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 p.m.

Information and registration for the classes can be found online.