Return to Headlines

RFH School Counseling Events


74 Ridge Road, Rumson, NJ 07760   





February 26, 2019

RFH School Counseling Presentations Focus on Strategies to Decrease Student Anxiety


    The Guidance/School Counseling Department at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School has begun offering events for parents to raise awareness of increasing anxiety in the student body and offer strategies to help reduce anxiety in their children. There have been three such events in the 2018-2019 school year. One in October, December, and January.

Over the last decade anxiety and mental health have become increasingly problematic issues in school and students alike. The National Institute of Mental Health has found anxiety disorders affect 25.1% of children between 13 and 18 years old. Research shows that untreated children with anxiety disorders are at higher risk to perform poorly in school, miss out on important social experiences, and engage in substance abuse.

Pressure to perform, smartphones, and post 9/11 parenting have all been linked to the rise of anxiety in the new generation of students.

Performance on tests, quizzes, projects, and social interactions have always been a cause for anxiety. Sharing a class with twenty plus-or-so students also creates competition which brings another layer of pressure.

Smartphones provide students with incredible ways to connect, network, and utilize new technology and applications that can transform their educational experience in a positive way. There is, however,  a dark side to having a small computer in your hands for extended periods of time.

Research shows there is a link between smartphone use and anxiety, depression and increased experience with stress. Students can attribute performance on social media to their personal feelings of self worth. A fear of missing out(FOMO) could be a cause for increased smartphone use.

Post 9/11 parenting has also been a link to the rising level of anxiety and depression of students. This event made parents more cognizant of threat. The protection and safety of their children is of paramount importance. This has caused students to be less exposed to failure, mistakes, and risks which are crucial to personal growth.

RFH School Counselors hold events every year addressing many topics including  post-secondary planning and success. In the last few years, programs regarding trends in college admission have also noted the need for resiliency and the presence of anxiety on college campuses. In response to the rapid increase in anxiety among the student body, the RFH School Counseling department has offered several events to help parents recognize unhealthy anxiety in their children and address strategies to reduce it. The School Counseling department invited motivational speaker Harlan Cohen to speak to both students and parents. Cohen spoke to the students about the sport of taking risks and being comfortable with the uncomfortable as these are the experiences that help us grow. That evening he also spoke with parents about rules he has for parents to inspire resilience and grit in their children.

Amy Nolan presented a program to parents  in December regarding building resilience in their children.

Dr. Nicole Pensak came in January and talked about “the price of perfection.” She focused her parent presentation on strategies to help high achieving students succeed. This included teaching parents about coping skills, navigating anxiety, and modeling behaviors.

    As one out of four kids between the ages of 13-18 are affected by anxiety disorders, more supports need to offered to ensure students are in the best environment and given the tools necessary to succeed. The Rumson-Fair Havens School Counseling/Guidance department is working diligently to inform their students and parents.


About Rumson-Fair Haven Regional: Rumson-Fair Haven was recognized as a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School by the US Department of Education. The high school, accredited by Middle States Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges and the NJ Department of Education, is a comprehensive high school of approximately 1000 students in grades 9-12. Consistently over the years, more than 95 % of our graduates have attended post secondary institutions.