Mental health: Understanding anxiety as you return to school

As you return to school, feelings of stress and anxiety are normal, but it can be hard to recognise them or know how to react if this is the first time.

Returning to school, seeing your friends again after months away and getting back into a routine can be overwhelming. This might be amplified if you are worried about the coronavirus and this is your first time leaving the house again.

What is anxiety?

You could be experiencing anxiety without knowing it. Anxiety is what we feel when we are worried, tense or afraid. This can be because of things that are about to happen, or that we think could happen in the future.

Anxiety can be experienced through our thoughts and feelings, but it can also have physical symptoms.

If you are experiencing anxiety you might feel nervous, restless or panicked. You can also experience physical symptoms like a rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, trembling and difficulty focussing.

You might also experience stomach problems, a strong desire to avoid certain situations or trouble sleeping.

Anxiety is a part of everybody’s life, but it can become a mental health problem if it affects your ability to live your life fully. If your feelings of anxiety last for a long time, you avoid situations because you feel anxious, or you become very distressed, it is important to seek support.   

Reaching out  

There is no shame in feeling anxious and it is not embarrassing to admit this to the people around you or your doctor. If you are feeling like this please remember that it is ok not to be ok.

Even if you only experience anxiety occasionally, getting support is key.

Speaking to your parents, friends, a teacher or someone else that you trust can help you understand and process your feelings. They can also help you to get the right support. You won’t be judged for having feelings of anxiety, it is nothing to be ashamed of.

Telling the people around you about how you feel will help you to build a support system and will make it easier if you need some time alone to avoid feeling overwhelmed.


Once you have told a trusted family member or friend about how you are feeling, the next step is speaking to your GP. They will be able to listen to how you are feeling and decide on the best course of treatment. This could involve things like talking therapies or anxiety medications.

Your doctor will suggest what they feel is best for you, but you don’t have to take medications if you don’t feel comfortable doing this.

If you don’t feel comfortable going to your doctor yet, or you don’t want to share how you are feeling with your loved ones, there are other resources available.

Charities like Samartians, Mind, SeeMe Scotland and Young Minds all provide information, resources, advice and support for people who are experiencing anxiety.

How has the transition back to school been for you? Let us know on Twitter and Instagram.

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