Ok, I am going to be super up front and direct about this topic.
I feel really bad for any parent in this situation as I can only imagine what they have gone through. The sadness, the dramas , the heartache , the sense of guilt, shame, anxiety about what to do, about what NOT to do.
I feel 3 things need to happen pretty quickly and intensively for any child refusing to go to school because of their anxiety or depression:
1. They need their condition treated
2. They need to get back to school as school refusal is a slippery slope
3. Parents, Guardians and any other family members need guidance in developing management skills to help the child as it is really hard work.
So… where to from here ?
Consult a great GP who can guide you to a great psychologist and child / adolescent psychiatrist. Your child needs a proper evaluation and diagnosis and treatment plan. ( Make sure it's anxiety/depression and not aspergers or something else for example)
I recommend parents find someone ( GP or therapist or case worker) to manage their child’s back to school plan. This involves managing the logistics of exactly how this happens - looking at the timing of when they go and for how long each time, and who they report to at the school in case of this that or the other…
Check if there is a Headspace centre near you, please drop in there and see what they can offer as they usually have some experience with this sort of thing:
If you don’t have a GP, you can find one here:
Whatever you do, just start doing it now and keep going . DO NOT GIVE UP! Keep searching for help as getting your child some relief from their anxiety/depression is really important and getting back into education is such an important goal. Ring helplines - Beyond Blue or kids helpline (1800 55 1800) if you get stuck.
I hope I haven’t overwhelmed you, I want to reassure you that the parental instinct that has lead you to research this is 100% spot on !!
Here is another helpful link: https://www.kidsmatter.edu.au/mental-health-matters/school-refusal
Do you have experience in helping a child overcome school refusal? Share your tips and experiences below!