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Teachers, students experiencing back-to-school anxiety

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Soon, Valley students will be returning to the classroom - but not everyone is ready for the new school year.

Psychiatrist Adrian Agapito said he’s currently seeing more patient referrals than ever before.

“Given everything that's happened over the last couple of months, and given them stress of the pandemic, there are a lot of emotions that can occur," Agapito said.

Agapito said many of the emotions students are feeling are not out of the norm.

"It is absolutely normal for people to be experiencing some level of anxiety and fear after everything that's going on with mass shootings," Agapito said.

It’s also normal for teachers to experience anxiety about entering a new school year in general.

"We were having to accelerate instruction for students, there was more testing than ever before,” Clarissa Riojas of McAllen AFT said. “And of course, the tragedy that occurred in Uvalde."

These stressors left educators like Riojas uneasy about returning to work.

“There is a lot of anxiety,” Riojas said. “There is a lot of hesitancy about the return to school, and really school employees and teachers just want our state elected officials and our school districts to do better."

Agapito said treating anxiety may need outside assistance.

“If a patient is having such severe anxiety and a hard time coping with the fact they have to go back to school, that they are not taking care of themselves or having these thoughts of wanting to hurt themselves, isolate themselves from their family, that's when they may need to go get some help," Agapito said.

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