Children affected by 2018 tornadoes offered free mental health assistance
Extensive storm damage on Craig Henry Drive and throughout the Nepean area following Friday afternoon's powerful storm. (CTV Ottawa)
Callum Fraser, Newstalk 580 CFRA
Published Tuesday, May 14, 2019 4:18PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 15, 2019 11:19AM EDT
Children in Nepean affected by the 2018 tornadoes are receiving professional help to deal with mental stress, and free of charge.
The Nepean Rideau Osgoode Community Resource Centre is funding four upcoming workshops for youth 7-16 years of age, after sessions in January proved to be an overwhelming success.
Educator Rebecca Lira - the creator of Mindfulness Rocks -- says parents can expect their children will go home with the tools they'll need to cope with anxiety.
"I really pride myself on getting the kids to create a sense of community in the group, so we definitely share with one another. They learn specific lessons on mindfulness, and I do this through hand-painted rocks that teach the kids about the parts of the brain and how they function when we're in a state of calm, and how they function when we're not in a state of calm. It's more explicit teaching, and they do a lot of reflecting in the class, as well."
She says the first time they did these workshops back in January, parents were raving about the progress their children made.
"(The children) are using the language of mindfulness. They're saying 'I can tell my migula is fired up right now; I need to take some deep breaths to get into a state of calm.' (The parents) say that can see (the children) using the practices that I have been teaching them about.
Lira says the practices she teaches are well-received by the kids who attend.
"I do a great skyscraper analogy, which is there's going to be stuff in life that make us feel like we're living in the basement of life, in that state of maybe sadness or fear, but then we talk about strategies to get back to living in the penthouse of life. So, parents say that that is something that's really resonated with kids and they're saying 'O.K., I'm back in the penthouse now' or 'I know how to choose joy again.'"
Lira says kids are encouraged to bring pillows or mats - anything to make them more comfortable.
The sessions will be held May 16, 23 and 30, and June 6 at the Craig Henry Community Building, 6:30-7:45 p.m. each night.
You can sign up at https://www.mindfulness-rocks.com/chca.html.
For more information, you can contact Lira at firstname.lastname@example.org.