By Bryanna Perez
The short girl with blonde hair and glasses stood there nervously as she hesitated to talk. Rowan Stevenson (‘19), a Sophomore at Brien McMahon High School, thinks over whether she feels up to being interviewed.
“Uhh, sure,” Rowan complies.
“One fear that I have overcome is interacting with people,” Rowan admits. “It has effected me in school with having to create presentations and work with people in group activities.”
While some students have no problem chattering the day away, others, much like Rowan, are struggling with the idea of having to stand up in front of the class and present their projects.
According to a team of researchers at the National Institution of Mental Health (NIMH), 12.4% of high school students describe themselves to be shy. This percentage of students are also most likely diagnosed with social phobia criteria.
Social Phobia Criteria, also known as Social Anxiety Disorder, is the fear of social situations that involve interaction with other people.
Social Phobia Criteria is not something you can be born with rather something that you can develop. According to the social anxiety institute, which is located in Phoenix and run by Thomas A. Richards, Ph.D., a psychologist, you may remember circumstances and events from very early in life, but there is no "gene" that codes for social anxiety, and there is not an immutable set of genes that cause social anxiety to occur. Scientifically speaking there is something in the brain called chemical imbalance. It is a phrase that causes mental health problems, including social anxiety. Chemical imbalances exist because the neural pathway systems of the brain sometimes lead to emotional pain ( anxiety) and irrational conclusions. Social anxiety disorder (social phobia) is the third largest psychological problem in the United States today.
Five days a week for 6 to 7 hours, teachers are the ones who deal with kids who have social phobia criteria. So how do they help these kids overcome their fear? Pridetime got the opportunity to speak with Brien McMahon's English teacher, Julia Stabach. “If students are shy and don't feel like taking part in discussion , I find other ways that they can speak such as writing down their responses, giving them positive reinforcements and maybe pairing them up with a student that will encourage them to speak out.”
For the students who also face the fear of interacting with people there are many ways in which they are able to overcome their struggle. Doctors have recommended the following help:
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