SEN
Anxiety/Depression

Meet our Anxiety Tutors

Our Anxiety/Depression tutors are all qualified teachers with additional experience and qualifications in supporting children with Anxiety and/or Depression. We believe one to one support can make a huge difference to a child’s education.  Our tutors can provide support across a range of school entrance, GCSE and A-level subjects. Below, you will find a list of our tutors and further information. Refine your results by using the search box above, or view all Anxiety/Dyslexia tutors below:

7 Plus, 8 Plus, 11 Plus, 13 Plus, Other School Entrance, English & History

11 hours available per week

11 Plus, 13 Plus & English

4 hours available per week

7 Plus, 11 Plus, 13 Plus & English

4 hours available per week

7 Plus, 8 Plus, 11 Plus, 13 Plus, Other School Entrance, English, French, Mandarin, Maths & Spanish

0 hours available per week

7 Plus, 8 Plus, Other School Entrance, English, Maths, Psychology & Science

2 hours available per week

Geography & Psychology

2 hours available per week

Recent blog posts

“10 Tips to Manage Exam Anxiety”

“10 Tips to Manage Exam Anxiety”

Exam time is a stressful time for everyone For some though examinations can trigger serious forms of anxiety that can prevent students from achieving their potential In this blog Emily a qualified teacher and SEN...

9 Ways to Help Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) students

9 Ways to Help Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) students

In this blog article Meredith outlines some of the barriers to learning autistic students can face and offers some strategies to support them...

How to support students with Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD)

How to support students with Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD)

In this blog Emily a qualified SEN teacher explores Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder This article is aimed to help teachers of children with CPTSD and contains advice for parents and carers seeking support from school...

Anxiety/Depression

Intro

According to the mental health charity MIND, the most common mental health challenges we can experience are anxiety and depression. A child or young person experiencing these struggles may find it difficult to focus on their studies, face social challenges in the classroom and even develop an avoidance of school altogether. This can be compounded by a negative feedback loop of anxiety and depression – where students feel trapped in a cycle of worrying about falling behind in their learning and not keeping up with their peers – leading to ongoing feelings of anxiety and low mood.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a broad term for a range of symptoms including worry, stress or panic. Psychologists consider anxiety to be an emotion closely related to fear. Anxiety symptoms can affect how you think, feel and behave. If you are feeling anxious, you may notice your thoughts are racing, more intrusive and repetitively focused on negative outcomes that cause further stress and worry. You may notice catastrophising thoughts such as: ‘If I fail this exam, I won’t be able to get a good job and my life will be ruined.’

Anxiety symptoms are also very visceral and felt in the body. This can include tension, restlessness or a sense of agitation. It is common to be aware of tightness, movement or cramping in the stomach (guts) area, shallow breathing and it may feel very difficult to relax, be still and even sleep. At times, physical symptoms may build up very quickly and be experienced as panic attacks.

Feeling anxious can also affect how you behave, for example, you may find it difficult to do things slowly, focus on one task at a time, or feel relaxed in social situations. You may engage in behaviours that try to minimise the feelings of anxiety, such as avoiding a task, distracting yourself with TV or social media and even using numbing substances or other self-harming behaviours.

It is important to know that anxiety is a very valuable, ancient response that has developed to keep us safe. You may have heard of the ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ response. These are defense mechanisms our body instinctively uses in times of threat or distress. Animals are able to return to a state of relaxation once the threat has disappeared (ever seen a video of an animal shaking in the wild after being chased? That is its way of calming its body down), but, as humans, we seem to find this more difficult without modelling (someone showing us how), or focused intention and effort.

What is depression?

Depression is often experienced as: a ‘low mood’, feeling tearful or sad for a prolonged time without obvious situational explanation, feeling ‘flat’, losing interest in what was once enjoyable, a lack of motivation and energy, feelings of low self-worth, sleep disturbances (not sleeping enough or sleeping more than usual), and changes in appetite (eating more or less than usual).

Anxiety and depression very often go hand in hand.

The impact of anxiety and/ or depression on a young person’s life

Going to school, hours of homework, exam pressure, dealing with friendships and relationships, social media and generally navigating the trials and tribulations of growing up can feel challenging enough. When depression or anxiety are added to the mix, things can feel downright impossible.

Anxiety and depression can substantially impede a young person’s ability to function and cope with the demands of school life. What we may see as simple tasks or situations can easily feel overwhelming or incredibly scary to somebody suffering with anxiety or depression.

This can lead to: an inability to focus in the classroom or on homework, difficulties in friendships, challenges speaking up or reading aloud in class, overwhelming stress / worry around meeting deadlines and exams, forgetting/ memory problems/ challenges to being organised, feelings or low self-worth or negative comparisons to others, insomnia leading to tiredness and irritability the next day and ultimately avoidance of school.

Things that can help

When someone we care about is suffering we want to do all we can to help them feel better. Here are some things that can help a child or young person to feel better in themselves:

Listen and empathise

Most importantly, it is essential for a child or young person to be listened to, REALLY listened to!

This means honouring and validating their feelings in an empathic way. Often we attempt to help but unintentionally dismiss feelings in the process. Who hasn’t said things like, “It’s nothing to worry about” or “There’s no need to be so upset about it”? Despite good intentions, these responses dismiss the feelings the child is experiencing and makes them feel unseen or unheard. If emotions are not processed then the child gets ‘stuck’, which leads to anxiety and depression. Feelings literally get ‘stuck’ in the body.

Instead, you might reflect back feelings and reassure them that this feeling is not permanent: “Things feel really difficult right now, but it won’t always be this way.’

Name the feeling and offer support: “I can see you’re really overwhelmed with your studies right now. Is there anything I can do to help?”

Observe anxiety through body language: “You’re rocking on your chair right now; I think you might be anxious about your homework.”

Observe anxiety through physical symptoms:  “I’ve noticed you have told me you have had stomach aches before school for a few days now. Is there anything going on at school that’s making you feel worried or that you would like to talk about?”

Observe anxiety / depression through behaviour: “I noticed you haven’t wanted to see your friends as much as you normally do. I wonder if you are feeling ok and if you want to talk?”

Essentially, we must allow children to have the feelings they are having, encourage them to express them, feel supported in knowing those feelings are impermanent and that we are there for them.

Model emotional-regulation

Regulation or to ‘regulate ourselves’ means the ability to calm ourselves down or self-soothe. Children learn this essential skill from the adults around them. Often us adults do not know how to do this ourselves so children struggle to learn these ways to calm down.

Some brilliant ways to practice doing this (and even better to model this to your child once you are calm!) are:

Model deep belly breathing, star breathing, box breathing, lazy 8 breathing:

https://copingskillsforkids.com/deep-breathing-exercises-for-kids

Deep pressure: Offer a hug (at least 20 seconds for maximum calming effect!) or model a self-hug with hands wrapped around opposite shoulders

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/how-to-self-hug_uk_5fe49681c5b6acb534573e63

A weighted blanket can help calm an anxious body

Practice yoga and mindfulness

https://calmforkids.com/free-stuff/ has some fantastic yoga and meditation resources

Find your favourite smell and breathe it in (lavender is a favourite calming smell of mine and I apologise to all the beautiful lavender shrubs for stealing from them!)

Listen to some music. Whether it’s music that reflects the mood you’re in, music to calm you down (classical piano or flute is wonderful for this!) or music to get you moving, music is a powerful way to get out of your head and into your body, which can quickly ease anxious feelings and change your mood.

Swinging or rocking (on a swing at the playground or a rocking horse / rocking chair)

Seek professional help

There is an abundance of great therapists ready to help your child if they are struggling. If your child is young and cannot articulate their feelings yet, approaches such as play therapy (with toys, puppets, storytelling, sand etc.) can be hugely helpful. Alternatively talking therapies (counselling) can help older students.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, anxiety and depression are very common challenges to face. With the right adult support, children can learn to cope with these feelings and find their way to a sense of ease, worth and well-being.

"We hired Owl Tutors to help our American daughter get up to speed on some UK Maths and English questions prior to us relocating from California to London. We were assigned Kelly, and she was fantastic. Our daughter was a little nervous in the beginning and Kelly was calm, friendly and patient, and our daughter warmed to her in no time.

After a couple of months our daughter took her UK entrance exam with confidence, and passed.

We highly recommend Owl Tutors and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Kelly. We hope to use her ourselves again in the future.

Thanks

Richard"

Father of online 11 plus student

Sunday, 28th November 2021