Mental Health Support For Youth
Now more than ever mental health needs to be supported. Even before COVID-19 invaded our lives, mental health was a growing issue in society.
Vegreville Pastor Brad Dahr, along with a former high school student Noreen Moise have established a not for profit organization, COME2LIFE, to specifically address youth mental health.
COME2LIFE provides three main workshops with a fourth in development, noted Dahr.
In 2016, I met Noreen and she shared her story, and then said, “More needs to be done for youth mental health.” I was already doing work in that area so I agreed and then we started to create content.
Our primary workshop is called The Butterfly Effect. We gather together key best practices to ensure youth hear a message that they are not alone and there is help, hope, and healing when life is chaos. The Butterfly Effect is like a mini-mental health first aid, suicide intervention, recovery program in an interactive 90-minute session. We look at the emotional wounds we all experience, how cognitive distortions make them worse, and how boundaries and consent are important for recovery. We also talk about depression, anxiety, self-injury, eating disorders, and suicide. We make it okay to talk about these struggles and open the door for youth to ask for help.
In addition to The Butterly Effect, they offer Pathways, an 8-week program for depression and anxiety recovery, and Turning Points, a collaborative program for university campuses. If a person in a workshop comes forward and needs emergency or ongoing professional help, we walk with them until they get the support they need.”
The workshops are made for youth but anyone will benefit, noted Dahr. “After one workshop, one adult said, this saves me three counselling sessions. Another, a foster parent, said it was the best workshop they have attended and it gave them really good tools for supporting the kids in their care.”
Dahr said they have conducted 16 workshops to date. Some of the locations of the workshops include: Vegreville, Edmonton, Onoway, Lacombe, Maskwacis, and Red Deer. We also did it for an online high school. Another workshop is being planned for June.
We also started a weekly series called Good Medicine.
They also developed what they call Comfort Kits. “We send all our Comfort Kits into the world to bring hope to struggling youth.”
Each shoebox-sized Comfort Kit includes: assistance cards for calming practices, reflection and distraction, a mindfulness colouring book created by Odion Welch, Stress ball, Glitter timer, Playdoh or similar fidget, SMOOTH Lavender lotion bar from 1000 Kisses, Crayons and pens, and a dry erase gratitude board.
“We have sent kits all over Canada, Mexico, USA, Europe, Australia, and one each to Indonesia and Nigeria. Hoping to send some kits to South America this year.” Altogether they have mailed or handed out 200 kits.
“Our primary goal is to save lives! So many people suffer in silence. We talk about mental health, how to be resilient, and encourage seeking recovery. Our main message is, they are not alone and there is help, hope, and healing when life is chaos.”