On Monday, more than 300 parents and middle and upper school students from throughout the San Gabriel Valley, including approximately 100 from the Westridge community, filled the PAC for a screening of Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety, an independent film developed with the goal of opening a dialogue about anxiety. The film addresses the difference between feeling anxious and having anxiety disorders and presents strategies for managing anxiety. At its heart are young people talking about how these strategies had worked for them.
Following the movie, a panel of educators and experts on the topic of anxiety, which included Westridge Assistant Head of School Jemma Kennedy, answered questions from attendees. Topics ranged from how parents can help support students in dealing with anxiety around the college process to specific strategies to help with moments of stress to the role that technology plays in amplifying anxiety in many students.
“I was delighted to see so many of our families engage in this important discussion,” said Kennedy. “Many students and parents have expressed that the strategies we shared have already proven to be helpful for them; it is my hope that parents and students came away from this event better equipped to handle the pressures of life and more willing to celebrate and delight in each student’s unique gifts and strengths.”
A resource list on anxiety from the event will be made available shortly. The screening was hosted by Fusion Academy at Westridge and was open to families from throughout the local community. Panelists in addition to Kennedy included Dani Ryckman, head of school at Fusion Academy Pasadena, Dr. Melissa Springstead, Psy.D., owner of the Anchor Children and Family Counseling in Pasadena, Dr. Rebecca Bokoch, Psy.D, and moderator Noelle Brown, regional director of Fusion Academy.