Submit your own anxiety story and inspire a Lifetime Original Movie to Air in 2019.
The percentage of teens with anxiety continues to rise, but the stigma associated with mental health persists. That’s why the BeMeBeFree Campaign created by Darryl Roberts is launching to encourage youth to share their personal anxiety stories through creative expression – written essay, poem, video or song.
According to The National Institute of Mental Health, 38% of teen girls and 26% of teen boys have anxiety disorders, yet data shows that 40% of students with mental health concerns never seek help.
BeMeBeFree is a campaign to raise public awareness about the urgent challenges teens and young adults are facing with anxiety, and to create a safe space for dialogue on the topic. From September 5-October 5, 2018, anyone ages 12-24 is invited to submit their anxiety stories to www.bemebefree.org.
Mental health professionals specializing in anxiety will then select one story that will inspire a Lifetime Original Movie to premiere in 2019.
The site also provides easy ways to connect with critical resources to address anxiety effectively.
Below are 5 Tips to Help Teens Deal with Anxiety by Dr. John Duffy
- Here’s the obvious one, but it’s so important. Limit your screen time. I understand completely how amazing our screens are today. Social media is astounding. There are brilliant and funny things to watch on YouTube. Fortnite is an awesome game. We all need a little ‘Netflix-and-chill’ in our lives. But there is some really good research that suggests that too much time with screens in our faces (only 2 hours a day!) can drive up anxiety, depression, attention issues, and even suicidal thoughts. So, you’ve got to put the phone or game controller down and fill time with other activities. You know this is right. You know you will feel better.
- Lean on some of the adults in your life. You have parents, teachers, coaches, social workers, and other mentors available to you. Too often, you dismiss them as clueless adults who don’t understand you. And at times, you may be right. You may have to teach us a bit about your world in order for us to be helpful. But the adults in your life want to help, and want you to be happy. Nobody, and I mean nobody, needs you to be anxious.
- Move your body. A big component of anxiety is that pent-up, frustrating physical energy. And it’s becoming easier and easier to be sedentary, passively sitting in front of screens for too much of your day, after sitting still for hour after hour in school. So, get on the track, in the pool, or in the gym for an hour. Release and direct some of that energy. You will feel stronger and far less anxious quickly.
- Work to identify the thinking that’s driving your anxiety. You are probably telling yourself stories in your head, about how you’re not good enough – not good looking enough, not smart enough, not popular enough, not talented enough, and so on. These are just stories, but when you repeat them over-and-over, in a silent loop in your mind, you begin to believe them deeply over time. When we do this, we might act in ways that support these beliefs we’ve created. We stop working. We disappear socially. We self-medicate with alcohol or drugs or juuling or vaping. But when we bring these myths to light, we can examine them, and replace them with better stories about ourselves.
- Ask for professional help when needed. I tend toward anxiety myself, and am well aware that it can encompass some of the most uncomfortable physical and emotional responses our minds and bodies can muster. But there is energy within your anxiety that can be channeled in a way that works for you. Trust in a professional who can guide you through this process. This will help you keep alive the hope that your anxiety can be manageable. You need to be exposed to something or someone who can remind you on a regular basis of your strengths. Part of your anxiety is losing sight of that. There is so much about you that is of note, unique, special, important, and even necessary. Let someone who knows how bring you back to that thinking, or invite you there for the first time.
Don’t buy into the myth that your anxiety is unchangeable, or diminishes you in any way.
Dr. John Duffy is a clinical psychologist and one of the BeMeBeFree campaign judges. He is the best-selling author of The Available Parent, host of the podcast “Better,” and a regular expert contributor to national TV shows.