University of South Carolina alumnae Anna R. Duvall and Crissy C. Roddy, Ed.D. recently co-authored a book about helping students manage anxiety, a disorder facing nearly one-third of teenagers in America. Duvall and Roddy are school counselors in Lexington County School District One.
Their book, Managing Anxiety in School Settings, is geared toward school counselors, teachers and administrators.
“As educators, we teach students a lot of life skills,” says Duvall, director of counseling at Lexington High School. “We have seen anxiety among students increase exponentially, so we must show them techniques to deal with this prevalent disorder.”
The book dives into how anxiety impacts students’ emotional and academic well-being. It focuses on creating a tangible set of strategies that students can place in an “anxiety survival toolkit,” which can be used at school or outside the classroom.
Working with their counselor, students figure out which anxiety-relieving techniques work best for them, such as breathing methods, journaling, cognitive distraction, yoga, meditation and positive self-talk. Then students write those techniques in their toolkit.
“The toolkit is simply a notebook where students can write these techniques so when they are anxious, they can discreetly reference the toolkit and use the skills to help manage their feelings and anxiety,” says Roddy, director of counseling at White Knoll High School.
The book breaks down strategies by grade levels and gives real-life examples to help a reader understand the causes of anxiety and develop coping strategies to assist the students they serve.
“My hope, by publishing this book, is that we can help professionals across the country better support their students’ mental health,” Roddy says.
“Anxiety is far-reaching and, in fact, is the most common psychiatric disorder among children,” says Duvall. “To think that our work could help children not only in our school district, but also on a larger scale, is pretty awesome.”
Duvall has worked as a school counselor for 27 years with 22 of those years spent in Lexington District One. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a Master of Education in secondary school counseling from the University of South Carolina. In 2015, she was a semifinalist for National School Counselor of the Year.
Roddy has spent her entire 18-year career in Lexington District One, serving as counselor at five schools in the district. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, Master of Education, Educational Specialist in school counseling, and a Doctor of Education in counselor education and supervision from the University of South Carolina. She and Duvall have presented about anxiety at the state and national levels.