In case you find yourself in this situation, know that you are not alone!
Studies show that 15-18% of children experience mental health problems. Less than one third of these children ever receive the help they need, due to social stigma, financial factors, and/or clinic wait times, and that’s not a statistic anyone wants their child to be a part of.
An incredible program exists, called Strongest Families; Chase Worries Away, for children ages 6-11, and it provides children with tools they can truly use throughout their lives in times of high stress. The program is completely free with a referral from Child and Adolescent Addiction and Mental Health Intake Services in Edmonton.
In my own experience, the referral is not hard to acquire, and the alternative is a clinic visit with waitlists months to years long. Thankfully, the program sees an extremely high success rate in the children who complete it, and our story was no different. It’s a phone call based program, with great flexibility, so instead of attending actual clinic sessions, you are set up with a counsellor and connect by phone each week, for 12 weeks, at a time that is convenient for the family. The call takes up to 40 minutes, with a portion spent between parent and counsellor, and a portion between the child and the counsellor. Each week, both the parent and child are given “homework” to complete or practice before the next phone call. By the end of the 12 weeks, the child has learned many skills to use in different settings when they are experiencing high stress or anxiety. They’ve learned about anxiety, that it is completely normal to experience and that it is never something to feel ashamed of. And, you as the caregiver, have learned how to properly coach your child when he or she is struggling, and that, for me, was was incredibly reassuring.
We are all striving to raise a generation more compassionate and open than the last, and making sure our children know as much about mental illness as they do about physical illness is the start to the end of the social stigma that continues to be a barrier for so many when it comes to getting the help they need. Keep giving your little ones the tools they need to be the change our world needs.Find Help for Little Worriers Through an Incredible Resource for Edmonton Kids Suffering from Anxiety
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