Stress & Anxiety

     Stress and anxiety is the thing that can kill us. Larimer county has a tremendously high suicide rate– the highest in Colorado. Teachers, principals and even the superintendent will tell you that stress and anxiety are major problems in schools. People believe that students are in danger from stress or anxiety–in research we talked to students, teachers, and administrators to find out whether there is a solution or not.

     We felt not just as a class but as journalists that this was an important topic to write about and share to the schools and the community. America leads the world in rates of stress and anxiety. This topic has become a critical topic for parents, teachers, and students all can relate to, because this could be your son or daughter. Colorado continuously has among the highest suicide rates in the nation. We have seen firsthand that there are students and teachers who struggle with the issues we talk about in this article.

     Sheldon Rosenkrance, the Estes Park School District’s superintendent, watches over and operates all three schools. He works for the school board and makes sure the community runs smoothly. Mr. Rosenkrance takes care of problems and needs in the schools from fixing the roof to getting interviewed by students about stress and anxiety.
     Stress and anxiety in schools is an important and relevant topic in the world. These issues are not that commonly noticed but when they are, positive solutions can affect the situation.  Rosenkrance was asked multiple questions about what he knows and says that there are two different types of stress; good stress and bad stress. The good stress that helps you improve gives you motivation. The negative stress can often get out of control. Anxiety is a mental health disorder characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that are strong enough to interfere with one’s daily activities.

      Even students were asked about this topic. Alexandra Poppitz is a freshman at Estes Park High School that was diagnosed with anxiety at age 13. She says she struggles more with stress and anxiety and encounters more busywork than the freshmen and other grades experience. Anxiety can be normal in stressful situations such as public speaking or taking a test. Anxiety is only an indicator of underlying disease when feelings become excessive, all-consuming, and interfere with daily living. The side effects include intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Fast heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, and feeling tired may occur.

“I hate having anxiety it feels like I can never fully relax I’m always scared that something bad is going to happen.”  Alexandra Poppitz

The hardest part of dealing with her anxiety is when she feels physically sick, which is the body’s natural reaction when the body feels stressed or anxious. Meaning when behaving in an apprehensive way causes the body to activate, the stress response. The response causes dramatic physiological, psychological, and emotional changes. Which causes the body to attack it or flee from it which brings that saying “fight or flight.” the body has a more difficult time recovering, which can cause the body to remain in a state of hyper emergency readiness, causing you to feel physically sick. Anxiety can greatly affect academic performance as well.

     Anxiety impacts a student’s working memory, making it difficult to learn and retain information. Hannah Heckerson the counselor for all 3 schools in Estes Park she gets students coming to her everyday talking about their anxiety, stress, and other issues. There are 3 million anxiety cases every year just in the U.S making it the leading country in anxiety. She tries her best to help them but there’s “no silver bullet solution” by what’s causing anxiety “it’s a natural human reaction of fight or flight if we didn’t have it we wouldn’t be here. Anxiety is normal and everyone should have some during there day or else; we would be a pile of gel on the floor not being very productive human beings.” Ms. Heckerson believes that anxiety is important because studies show that if you’re stressed on a test you are more likely to do better. There are other mental issues in the school. The most common ones are depression and anxiety why? “Thats the question right there, I think a lot of it has to deal with, it’s a stressful time to be growing up especially in this time of life in this day and age I think there social factors, technology factors all these different factors that contribute to this increase in anxiety.” 80 percent of kids with a diagnosable anxiety disorder and 60 percent of kids with diagnosable depression. 

Chuck Scott, when asked about helping students that suffer from stress and anxiety, he says that talking the issues out can often help. He also says that sports can help with stress/anxiety because when you are moving and being active, you feel good. Anxiety disorders often co-occur with other disorders but students are not the only one dealing with anxiety and stress. Ms. Bode is a Director of Innovation and Instruction at the Estes Park school districts. She cares a lot about students and has objective judgment of students and their homework stress. Her belief on homework is that students have immense amount of stress and times have definitely changed from the past to the present. Ms.Bode thinks homework should change back to when she was a kid and not be affected by social media. She says that healthy activities will help with stress and overcoming the larger problems that are affecting today.

When students or people, in general feel like they are losing control over their stress and anxiety exercise is a great out look says Jeff Collins, the assistant principal of EPHS, he is also the athletic directer here at the school.

If you’re a student in need of help and are dealing with problems of your own, we recommend to talk to someone here at Estes Park High School, or your can visit this website about tips on how to help your overcome your anxiety and stresses in your life.

“I will breath. Worry will NOT control me. Stress will NOT break me” 


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