Dr Jodi Richardson – Understanding Anxiety

Pastoral Care Webinar with Dr Jodi Richardson

In the words of the college’s founder; St John Bosco, it is not enough to love the young, they must know that they are loved. Expressing love to the young is not so simply defined as it is not necessarily tangible and requires consideration multiple variables and varies from family to family. However, the consistency in the approach is that students, remain the focal point of consistency for both families and the college. Meaning that all efforts are focused on providing the boy, the best support for him to achieve success, however he chooses to define this.

In recognition of the unusual and challenging times inflicted on the community as a consequence of the pandemic, Salesian College has engaged an existing community partnership with wellbeing expert, fellow Victorian and author of several books including “Anxious Kids – How Children Can Turn Their Anxiety into Resilience”, a book co-authored with past Salesian College student; Michael Grose, to share practical strategies embedded within scientific theory.

Anxiety is our brain and body’s response in anticipation of a threat that keeps us “safe”. However, the regulation of such responses, can be a challenge for the young people in our communities. Jodi presented on the topic of understanding anxiety and how best to respond with tangible strategies. Key strategies for employment during these challenging times, which can be used for both students as well as parents, are as follows.


From the Year 7 information evening, the message was the focus on positive relationships. Maintaining connection between the college and the parents/guardians in the common support of the students.

  • Make connections within the permitted radius where possible.
  • Set up online Zoom meetings to allow for kids and families to have a casual conversation.
  • Offer validation and empathy to ensure that the boys are heard.
  • Allow them to be a part of real decision making where possible.

Dropping Anchor

Jodi shared a technique that affords us the opportunity to feel the connection to the physical space in order to bring us back to the “green zone”.

  • Notice the feeling of your feet firmly planted on the floor.
  • Feel the shirt on your back and the impression it is making.

Breath work

A breathing technique that allows for individuals to be acutely aware of the air moving in and out of their lungs in order calm and sooth the individual when they are in a heightened state as a consequence of a perceived threat. Regulate breathing in a state of calm in order to form connections in the brain that can be called upon in a heightened state.

We hope that you found the presentation valuable and if your son is experiencing challenges in meeting the demands of school, whether this be the demands of continued remote learning, the requirement for support to return to onsite, please contact your son’s year level coordinator (YLC) or myself.

Byron Chen
Dean of Students – Middle School