Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Seminar Addressing Teen Anxiety Draws More Than 100

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Seminar Addressing Teen Anxiety Draws More Than 100

Article excerpt

MONTVALE -- More than 100 people filled Pascack Hills High School on Wednesday night to attend "Teen Anxiety on the Rise," an event organizers said they hoped would educate parents and students on what they called the epidemic of stress and anxiety disorders gripping millions of students across the country.

Setting up shop in the high school's cafeteria were more than 40 treatment providers, resource organizations, support groups and law enforcement officers, who handed out information and spoke with parents and health professionals about what they can do to help teenagers manage the growing stress they encounter in their everyday lives.

The event -- which was hosted by the Hills Valley Coalition, an organization made up of members of the community, schools, town government and law enforcement -- ended with speeches by doctors and those who have managed their anxiety.

The issue of young people grappling with anxiety is not uncommon. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 5.9 percent of teenagers in the United States suffer from a severe disorder, while the Anxiety and Depression Association of America says 1 in 8 children are affected by an anxiety disorder.

Pam Martorana, a co-organizer of Wednesday's event and a licensed professional counselor at Kinderkamack Counseling, said she had seen firsthand the rising number of teenagers expressing anxiety-driven mental health issues.

"More and more kids are exhibiting the signs of anxiety, and they are being more vocal about it," Martorana said before the event. "We want to increase awareness for parents, professionals and peers and want to educate parents on the resources that are available in their community."

Gale Mangold, a co-organizer of the event and student assistance counselor at Pascask Hills, said the event was also a way of promoting the community as a "stigma-free environment," a growing distinction among Bergen County municipalities.

Many of those who attended the event were parents hoping to educate themselves on the anxiety students are facing.

Renee and Eric Buzzelli of Upper Saddle River said their 15-year- old suffered from anxiety related to school and friends. …

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