Engage Therapy comes to Oak Park High School

Tamburro: ‘We have to recognize that mental health issues are just as troublesome and debilitating for people as if it were a physical issue’

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Psychiatrist Samantha Tamburro from the mental health clinic Engage Therapy, located in Thousand Oaks, came to lecture in the Oak Park High School gym Oct. 4.

With mental health awareness on the rise, Advanced Peer Counseling worked with some of the high school counselors to bring in a speaker well-informed on the topic.

“[The Engaged Therapy talk] was an opportunity for students to hear about the topic of mental health, what to do, and how to approach those issues and make things better,” senior and Advanced Peer Counselor Cade Creason said.

To organize the event, peer counselors worked alongside counselors Julie Ross and Janet Svoboda to find a reputable speaker.

The discussion revolved mainly around anxiety.

“30 percent of you will meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder by the age of 18 … that’s a lot,” Tamburro said.

According to Tamburro, many anxiety disorders exist, but generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) seems to be the most common.

“Generalized anxiety is like a general worry about everything. That could be in school, worrying about your grades, worrying about how your performance is in sports, tending to maybe be hard on yourself,” Tamburro said. “This is kind of where the most perfectionistic people are … A lot of times they believe that the worry is actually helping them.”

Tamburro said that depression goes hand-in-hand with anxiety. She described anxiety as your brain running marathons for days on end; eventually your brain is not going to want to run anymore and one day you may not find the power to get out of bed, leading to depression.

“I’ll talk about anxiety and depression together and usually that’s because a lot of times, not always, but a lot of times anxiety can be the precursor to depression or the underlying issue,” Tamburro said.

The concluding topic of the discussion was suicide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was up 70% for white children and teens ages 10 to 17 between 2006 and 2016 and 77% for black children and teens.

“If someone is suicidal, the biggest things you can do are be yourself, let the person know you care, listen and let them vent, even if you think they’re wrong, let them vent,” Tamburro said. “Be sympathetic, let the person know that you are there, remind them that other people, like counselors, are there for them, and take the person seriously. It may be a little thing that they’re anxious or depressed about that’s throwing them over the edge, but what we don’t know is all that’s stuffed up underneath it.”

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