Fear of school is a growing phenomenon; between 5 and 28% of children and young people suffer from it. It creates anxiety and fear that affects not only class attendance and performance, but also overall well-being and health.

“It is increasing, like many mental disorders in developmental age, we have been observing this increase for about ten years. There is a greater vulnerability of children, linked to lifestyle and the decline of protective factors,” explains Stefano Vicari, responsible for child and adolescent neuropsychiatry at the Bambino Gesù children’s hospital in Rome and full professor of child neuropsychiatry at the Catholic University of Rome.

“A school based on competition can facilitate the emergence of these behaviors in vulnerable people,” says the neuropsychiatrist. This explains how to distinguish between good and bad fears and who to contact to best intervene. Stefano Vicari is the author, together with Maria Pontillo and in collaboration with Holden School, of Tomorrow I’ll Stay Home. Reading school anxiety between the lines” (Erickson). Cinzia Lucchelli in the studio