By Lucy Roth | Reporter
On Monday, Sept. 10, at New Haven High School in New Haven, Missouri, the documentary “Angst” previewed to a group of fifth through twelfth grade students, along with faculty and staff. The research and interview based film focused on the causes, symptoms, and effects of stress and anxiety on individuals. Students and teachers had strikingly emotional reactions to the film — some teary, others thoughtful, but most importantly, awareness.
Eileen Roth, curator of the event and kindergarten through eighth grade counselor in New Haven School District, previewed the film during its pre-release last November. She speaks to her reactions as “shocked,” “moved,” and “deeply inspired.”
Roth felt “with fresh power” the impact the film could have and ran with it. Her motives for bringing such a film to her school was largely expository to not only students, but the administration as well. She said, “To show these age kids who are so impressionable and perceptive something so stark and raw, it will have an effect on them. I wanted to expose them to more information about anxiety and maybe reassure them, if this is something that they are going through, that they are not alone.”
Renee Laune, NHHS Librarian adds, “I heard several students talking about how nice it was to know that they weren’t the only person dealing with anxiety.”
Annie Foncannon, overseer of the Franklin County Children’s Service Fund, reflects that, “I felt that they put a face to anxiety and truly showed that no matter where you’re from, what you look like, or what type of person you are, anxiety affects the gambit of people. Anxiety doesn’t discriminate.” A huge part of the film was, as Foncannon said, “putting a face” to the stressful experiences and feelings that affect us in our day-to-day life.
In regard to the administration, she noted that, “It’s so important for educators and administrations to educate themselves on these topics. How are they supposed to do their jobs if they don’t understand their demographic?”
Not until speaking with students immediately after the film did I realize how grave and important an effect it would have. How candid they were about their struggles was inspiring.
Chloe, 16, said, “I worry about small things, ‘normal’ things, like sharpening a pencil or ordering something at a restaurant, or if I’m out and I hear people laughing, I immediately jump to conclusions. All I can think is of how I look or it’s something I’m doing.” Olivia, 17, said her biggest struggle is feeling alone and that the film opened her eyes to realizing she isn’t.