At Somerville Intermediate we care about your health and wellbeing. We want you to be the best person you can be. We face many challenges in life and we want you to be resilient members of society. The links below can help us be the best we can be and give us strategies that we all need to become the best version of ourselves.

 

It's okay to reach out for help - never hesitate if you are concerned about yourself or someone else.

 

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https://www.youthline.co.nz/
Youthline is a support service for any questions you may have. If you don’t want to call they also have a many different advice pages on body, social, mind and beyond school issues.

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https://www.auntydee.co.nz/

Aunty Dee is a free online tool for anyone who needs some help working through a problem or problems. It doesn’t matter what the problem is, you can use Aunty Dee to help you work it through.

The low downll09j0z8sdmnmmjuf29t

https://thelowdown.co.nz/
The low down is a free help line that gives you straight up answers for those up and down moments in life.

What’s Uplogo colour

https://www.whatsup.co.nz/
A safe place for you to talk about anything at all. If you don’t feel like talking their website also gives some amazing tips.

Kidsline1539301382988 Kidslineweb

http://www.kidsline.org.nz/Home_312.aspx
A free calling support service for when you need to talk about your feelings and life in general.

 

Counsellor's Comments

Anxiety: The Bully in the Brain

 All of us experience worries, shyness or nervousness from time to time. However, there may be times when worry snowballs into anxiety, bringing with it a fear response. There are of course times when we need to be fearful, for example: when we are face to face with a tiger. The fear is telling us we are in danger and need to defend ourselves or escape. However, anxiety can trick us by telling us we are in danger when we are actually quite safe. Fears then become distorted and dysfunctional. Our thoughts and behaviours may start creating the anxiety rather than the actual thing we are anxious about.
 
To illustrate this, let us imagine we had a cat anxiety and we reacted to a harmless kitten as if it was a fierce tiger. In order to cope with our cat anxiety we may start using avoidance tactics to try and keep anxiety at bay. For example, no longer going outside for fear of seeing a cat. In this way, worries can start taking over and interfering with life. Trying to outsmart the anxiety by avoiding triggers may work in the short term. However, hiding from triggers only helps the anxiety grow in strength; the cat remaining a fierce tiger in our mind. When we avoid the things that cause us anxiety it sends a message to our brain that we cannot cope and reinforces a false belief that there is danger when in fact there is not. The more we hide from the things that scare us the more scary they seem.
 
If you recognise your child is struggling from anxiety it may help to explore with your child all the ways the anxiety has affected his or her life. You may ask: What has the anxiety stopped you from doing? What things have you missed out on? How has the anxiety left you feeling about yourself? Exploring what the anxiety has cost your child may help him or her muster the courage to stand up to the anxiety bully.
 
The first step is to unlearn avoidance behaviours by slowly building up and facing those things that have caused him or her disproportionate fear. This sends a message to your child’s brain that he or she is capable, resilient and able to manage life’s challenges and in doing so weakens the bully in the brain. Instead of the anxiety controlling your child, your child gets to be in control.

 

The key is to gently expose your child to the scary thing gradually, without overwhelming him or her.  It is important to support your child through this process, reminding them that they are safe rather than colluding with the anxiety by giving in to avoidance behaviours. Let’s return to our cat anxiety analogy. If your child became so anxious of cats that they refused to go to a house that had one, you could start exposing your child to cats step by step. As each step is achieved it helps to show your child that there is no serious danger. Perhaps you start by helping your child to feel comfortable with pictures of cats. Once your child is feels safe enough with the picture, scale it up to a video, then being in the same room as a cat and finally they may have built up enough trust and resilience to pat a cat. This is the same process when desensitising your child to other fears he or she may be having, whether it be fear of flying, water, public speaking or social situations.
 
In can be beneficial to explore with your child his or her worst case scenario in regards to the anxiety. Sometimes a worst fear may be blown way out of proportion and seem life threatening in the mind of your child.  For example, your child may tell you he or she is terrified of cats because cats can potentially scratch. When this fear is examined, you can help your child realise that although scratches sting and may bleed a little, they also heal and he or she is much tougher and braver than they expected. Your child then comes to realise that even in the worst case scenario, he or she will survive and be alright.
 
However, if you notice your child’s anxieties and avoidance behaviours are continuing to interfere with his or her life, it may be time to seek the help of a counsellor or therapist. A professional will often be able to give you and your child strategies and techniques that empowers you and your child to get control over the anxiety and be the master of the bully in the brain.