Teen Anxiety (Not) on the Rise at Pascack Hills


Dr. Paul Foxman (Photo by Elena Boggio)

On Wednesday, May 4, the Hills Valley Coalition hosted an evening dedicated to educating parents and teens about teen anxiety. The event aimed to bring more attention to teen anxiety and how, as a community, we can work together to deal with this widespread issue.

Starting at 6 p.m., the Mental Health Resource fair presented over 40 local businesses and organizations. These entities provide services ranging from drug recovery and sexual violence support to therapy for depression and anxiety.

At 7 p.m., a lecture began with three featured speakers. The first speaker, Nick, is a member of the organization Alumni in Recovery (AIR). He shared stories from his childhood and his experience growing up in a family where alcoholism and drug abuse was frequent. Unfortunately, in order to cope with his troubled family life, Nick began to take anxiety medications. This acted as a gateway to his future drug abuse. As Nick stated, “there are not solutions for anxiety,” only ways to cope with it. This moving story ended with some advice from Nick: find your own unique and effective way to cope with anxiety.

The second speaker was Paul Foxman Ph.D. He is an author of two books, The Worried Child and Dancing With Fear. His presentation began with alarming facts that most people were shocked to hear. For example, 90 percent of teenagers get less than nine hours of sleep per night, which is what medical professionals recommended. Additionally, Dr. Foxman educated the audience about the various types of anxiety, how anxiety is brought on, the symptoms of anxiety, how to cope with anxiety, and ways to avoid it. Dr. Foxman stressed that teenagers should “spend the most time on the things that are most important.” In relation to this, he spoke about prioritizing school, sleep, and family in order to find a balance.

Following Dr. Foxman was Andrew Yeager, a Park Ridge High School psychologist. His input allowed parents to further understand how their children feel when going through the “jungle” that is high school.

The night closed with a question and answer session with all three speakers. The relevance of the questions clearly displays the growing concern for teen anxiety, yet the answers educated these concerned individuals in an effort to eradicate teen anxiety.