From pets to 'recess': High school stress relief

MT. PROSPECT, Ill. - Stress, anxiety and panic attacks are on the rise at many U.S. high schools, due to heightened academic expectations and troubles at home made worse by the shaky economy.

So some schools are trying unconventional methods to help students cope. Those methods include homework-free nights and the teenage equivalent of "recess" at a small but growing number of schools across the country.

At Prospect High School in suburban Chicago, counselors are using a "therapy dog," an 18-month-old golden retriever named Junie.

The staff there says Junie helps lighten the mood and, in more severe cases, aids them in calming students who are having panic attacks. Guidance counselor Lynn Thornton says they're seeing more students who are having to be hospitalized because of anxiety and depression.

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