Anxiety disorders are becoming increasingly common in the United States. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 19% of American adults had an anxiety disorder in 2020.

“It is so common, and it is so treatable,” said Heather Erickson , director of Behavioral Health at Amery Hospital and Clinic. “There is no reason to be ashamed about it or afraid to talk about it.”

But while there’s no shame in talking openly about anxiety, it can still be a tricky topic to discuss with kids. So when Heather joined us on the For Health’s Sake podcast, our conversation focused on how parents can help their kids understand anxiety, and avoid passing anxiety onto them. We covered:

  • The benefits of telling your kids about your own anxiety
  • Tips for teaching kids to identify and manage stress and anxiety
  • When to see a doctor about anxiety

Get your child help if they need it

Heather encouraged parents to reach out to a mental health expert if they notice signs of anxiety in their kids.

“Help exists, and it exists in so many different forms,” she said. “There are so many ways that we can help our brains and our bodies regulate anxiety.”

The best place to start is with your child’s doctor. Pediatricians and other kids’ health clinicians are experts in caring for children’s physical and mental health. You’ll be able to get answers to any questions or concerns you have, recommendations and a referral to a mental health specialist if necessary.