Students in grade eight are on the cusp of a lot of changes. It’s their last year before high school, many are experiencing the beginning of puberty as they enter their teenage years, and expectations and unspoken ‘rules’ around friendships and relationships change with age.
Ehrlo Counselling hoped to help them navigate some of the stresses by presenting at Positive Lifestyles, a conference put on for all eighth grade students in the Regina Catholic School Division.
Ehrlo presenters Dave Wiebe, Sarah Mayer, and Joey Panko held an informative, interactive session focusing on healthy vs. unhealthy stress, healthy vs unhealthy coping mechanisms, and what to do if a friend or family member is experiencing symptoms of a serious mental health issue.
“Providing preventative mental health education in the community is one of Ehrlo Counselling’s objectives,” explained Bree Fiissel, director of Ehrlo Counselling. "Connecting with community agencies also furthers our involvement in the community and we appreciate these kinds of opportunities.”
“Emotional first aid was something we wove in our presentation – making sure they knew how to take care of themselves,” added Janna Ellis, who helped with research for the presentation.
Information was interspersed with video clips and brainstorming sessions where the youth came up with coping mechanisms and examples of self-care.
“Lots of the youth had amazing responses,” Janna said.
For Ehrlo Counselling, the opportunity to do presentations within the community is a welcome one.
“This is a great way to get out there and talk to kids earlier on – before they get into high school and they have a whole new set of pressures and issues,” Janna explained.
“It’s important that these kids know things they can do for themselves and for their friends if they are struggling. That’s a big part of what we’re about, providing specific needs for specific demographics; reaching out and meeting any kind of gaps that there are out there,” Dave added.
“We’re always really glad when we get contacted by community agencies of one kind or another,” he continued. “It’s excellent for us to be able to develop those kinds of connections. It furthers our involvement in the community and our connection within the community.”