National Child and Youth Mental Health Day May 7 is intended to create awareness and acknowledgement of the thousands of children, youth, and families needing mental health support and care across Canada.
The 2020 theme is “caring – how you show caring and what makes you feel cared for.” Reach Child & Youth Development Society counsellor Yvonne McKenna offers activities for families within this framework:
· Identify five things about your child that make them special
· Think of five ways to say/show I care to your child today.
Mental Health is very much on the forefront in the current pandemic crisis.
“Due to COVID-19 there is increased anxiety and stress so counselling sessions are needed more than ever,” said McKenna. “Reach is continuing sessions with caregivers, children and teens as before and remote sessions are possible and effective.”
Characteristics of these remote sessions are as follows:
· the majority of children using video counselling are elementary school and teens, but as young as five
· play therapy methods have been adapted to video
· parents are appreciating the at-home support by phone or video
· some teens are appreciating connecting with the counsellor through texting
· online mental health resources and apps are suggested (Mindshift, Booster Buddies, Zones of Regulation, meditation and relaxation apps)
· many resources for anxiety and how to manage your mental health during COVID-19 pandemic are being given to clients and to Reach consultants for their case list
· since school may not resume until the fall, Reach Counselling is prepared to offer these services indefinitely.
Reach counselling recommends resources for parents on COVID-related mental health and general mental health info at: www.anxietycanada.com, www.cmha.caand www.keltymentalhealth.ca.
Reach helps children with any type of developmental delay and their families. There is a crisis counselling campaign to support this work for children with special needs and their families at Canada Helps now and is easily accessed at https://reachdevelopment.org/where $50 supports an hour of counselling and 10 sessions are offered to each family.
Delta City Manager Sean McGill has also created a Delta4Delta fundraiser to benefit Delta charitable organizations https://www.canadahelps.org/gp/81912/and included Reach as a recipient.
“The city is doing such an amazing job of embracing community organizations,” said Renie D’Aquila, Reach executive director.
A total of $3,450 has already been raised to be directed to Reach counselling.