Grand River Academy offers academic counseling and emotional support for all students in a personal or virtual setting where flexible pacing and individuality is valued. Individual academic plans are developed, ensuring that students are meeting specific standards and graduation requirements. In addition we work together as a student/family/counseling/GRA Staff team to ensure students have and are aware of their options, career goals for post High School. Students can also contact their counselor for emotional support or in the event of an emergency or crisis.

GRA counselor is Michelle Haptonstall-LPC
[email protected] 
970-254-6393 X 69103

Counselor Corner: 

Dealing with Anxiety:

Adapted from Psychology Today

Author: Alice Boyes, PhD

In today’s society, there are many expressions of discontent, disagreement, uneasiness, and all around discernment. Adults and children are at a place, oftentimes, where the amount of information and opinions to listen to, weigh out, and sort through is overwhelming.

More times than not, a sense of societal uneasiness can lead to individual uneasiness and unrest. This unrest can then turn into a sensation of anxiety. The amount of continued lack of control then becomes a sense that there is minimal they are able to do to control their environment and their world. In a world where everyone is judged, and viewed as ‘right and wrong’ it is internalized as ‘everyone is judging’ and then into ‘everyone may be judging me.’

Helping someone with anxiety can be intimidating. Often, the anxious person feels completely overwhelmed by their anxiety, especially if they experience panic attacks or find themselves gripped by anxious thoughts (health anxiety- someone has an obsessive fear of having/ developing a health problem;  social anxiety- the person is intensely bothered by thoughts of embarrassing themselves in social situations or being judged and rejected by others).

If you're looking for suggestions on how to help someone or yourself with anxiety:

1. Educate yourself about what can help reduce anxiety.There are specific anxiety strategies that are suited to being done alone or with a partner:

  • Exercise (or any type of physical activity)
  • Going to a yoga class, or doing meditation or breathing exercises together.
  • Mindfulness- Concentrating on what is occurring in the here and now, and not thinking in past or futuristic terms.
  • Recognizing anxiety related thoughts. What triggers the anxiety: what is the negative message that your brain is focusing on.

2. Break free of avoidance behavior.

  •  Avoidance behavior is a huge part of what causes anxiety. When someone avoids something they need to complete, their anxiety will snowball over time.  

Examples of such behaviors that may be avoided:

  • Getting started on a task that feels intimidating
  • Repairing mistakes
  • Asking for things (such as asking a teacher for help or asking a boss for time off) 
  • The more the anxious person puts off what they need to do, the more likely they are to experience intrusive thoughts about it.

3. Destigmatize anxiety.

  • People who have high anxiety are often embarrassed by their anxiety related symptoms.  
  • There may be a fear that anxiety will show up while in a performance or social situation, and/or worry that it will be visible to others.
  • Do not reassure the person that those things will never happen, but reassure them that they can cope if/when they do. 
  • For people who have anxiety attacks, the fear of having one is often as debilitating as the attacks themselves- fear of having a panic attack, or that they will have one  at an unexpected time.
  • When anxiety feels out of control, there may be a worry of losing their mind or "going crazy." Anxiety may be perceived as a sign of being weak or having doubt that there are effective therapies that will help.
  • Anxiety is not a weakness, character flaw, or a sign of being incompetent.
  • Many anxiety-based thoughts are experienced by relatively non-anxious people  from time to time. For example; most people can relate to the fear of being judged or of asking for something and being told no.
  • It's extremely common to have thoughts of doing something odd, dangerous, or out of the ‘norm’. Individuals with anxiety may not realize that many people have these types of thoughts.

4. Beware the reassurance-seeking

In particular types of anxiety, a person can become desperate for reassurance and may ask repeatedly, "Are you sure….? Should I … again? Do you … knows what s/he is doing?" 

If you notice these types of patterns emerging, limits will need set and this degree of anxiety has very intense, demanding reassurance-seeking behaviors likely requires working with a therapist. Intense reassurance-seeking is part of the process of how anxiety snowballs.

5. Consider getting help with anxiety

You can't expect to cure your anxiety yourself, no matter how smart you are, how much you care about them, or how much time you're willing to put in.

Sometimes the best solution is to access a therapist. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), is a good place to start for anxiety. It has the most evidence behind it for treating anxiety.

Become aware of/practice useful insights, or anxiety management techniques learned that are working.  

If something isn't working with a therapist, talk to the therapist directly. There are many different options for what can help with anxiety, and it's all about finding the best fit..Getting help for anxiety is often a big step for someone who avoids things that make them feel anxious. 

6. This may help with anxiety attacks

Anxiety attacks are false alarms of the fight/flight/freeze system. You will generally know if someone is having an anxiety attack. They may appear frozen and not very coherent, or they may act very afraid and distraught. The person may fear that they're having a  medical emergency, because their physical symptoms feel so intense.  

The best thing you can do when someone is having an anxiety attack is to be physically present with the person and help them concentrate on slow breathing. Pay attention to what seems calming and what seems aggravating when having an anxiety attack.

It’s important to get checked out medically for any issues that might be contributing to their anxiety attacks. For MOST people who have anxiety attacks, this is not true, however when someone does have a medical component to their anxiety attacks, it can be dismissed or missed.


'" Parents' Guide to Understanding Bullying":  Bullying Brochure 2 parent

"Cyberbullying: The Definitive Guide"

Cyber bullying : www.cyberbullying.usCyberbully (Words can hurt) 2012, an ABC Family movie DVD(at GRVA for loan-out)

Bullying among Girls: Queen Bees and Wanna Be’s by Roasalind Wiseman (At GRVA for loan-out)

Other Bullying Resources at GRVA:  Dear Bully, 70 Authors tell their stories, by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones. ABC News special, The “In Crowd” and Social Cruelty (2007) DVD.

Stop Cyber Bullying (courtesy of the Beacon)


Safe 2 Tell Colorado.  Anonymously report anything that concerns your safety of the safety of others at (877) 542-7233.

Educating teens, children, and parents about being an unsafe world

How to talk to your children about shootings


Suicide Warning signs and Tips for parents   Tips for parents and staff.doc
Student Letter for awareness  student letter for suicide awareness.pdf