Childhood anxiety workshop coming this weekend

By on April 30, 2019 0 256Views

The Institute of Child Psychology is hosting the Childhood Anxiety: Understanding and Helping Children Heal workshop at the Quality Hotel & Conference Centre on May 4.

The Institute of Child Psychology is led by specialists in the field of child psychology and they are registered Psychologists and Masters-Level Clinical Counselors, who travel across the globe to host seminars and workshops in communities with a mission to educate parents and professionals on issues pertaining to children’s mental health.

Study reveals an increase in mental health symptoms

In January 2019, a report was released by the BMC Psychiatry stating there was a significant increase to mental health symptoms in Fort McMurray youth post-wildfire. The data was collected from 3070 students in grade 7 to 12 in 2017, 18 months after the 2016 wildfire disaster. It was compared with data collected from 2796 students in the same grade from Red Deer, which was collected in 2014.

The unit used data from Red Deer as it was “an appropriate non-disaster impacted community to compare to the disaster impacted community,” as stated by the BMC Psychiatry.

The findings indicated a diagnosis of depression was 31 percent in Fort McMurray compared to Red Deer’s 17 percent, and suicidal thinking was 16 percent compared to 4 percent. The rates of anxiety disorder were similar with a 15 percent to 16 percent comparison.

Workshop Aims to Educated the “Village”

Registered Psychologist and Registered Play Therapist Tania Johnson will be leading the Saturday workshop and said the Institute has visited the city numerous times in the past three years as they recognize the need for specialized help.

In this Saturday’s session, guests can expect to learn how to recognize anxiety and how to cope when mental health professional options are limited.

“This session is all about helping all of us become the Village and equipping parents, professionals and caregivers with the tools to really help a child,” said Johnson, co-founder of the Institute of Child Psychology. “For some children, therapy will be necessary but we want to empower the adults in a child’s life to create an environment that sustains and nurtures psychological wellbeing.”

How to Recognize Childhood Anxiety

Johnson shared advice on how parents and caregivers can recognize a child suffering from anxiety, which she explains usually begins in the body.

“A child might experience constant tummy aches, headaches, muscle aches,” she said. “When these somatic complaints become constant, it is important to reach out to your doctor. If no underlying health reason is found, it may be time to consider professional help. Children you are anxious will often exhibit changes in sleeping and eating patterns, will avoid social situations or school and will have difficulty focusing.”

What to Expect at the Workshop

During the 8-hour workshop, Fort McMurray residents can expect to learn about the latest research on anxiety and it will offer “participants new perspectives, insights and a toolbox of strategies,” as Johnson explains.

“This course takes a holistic and strength-based approach on how parents, professionals and caregivers can help children who are struggling with anxiety,” she said.

A Question and Answer period will be held at the end of the day to allow participants to ask questions directed to their concerns.

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The workshop cost $85 per ticket and are available to purchase online (Limited tickets are now available). Coffee, tea and water will be provided at the event.

Subsidized ticket options are available to those with limited income. Interested guests are asked to email the Institute directly at info@instituteofchildpsychology.com for qualifications.null

Resources from the Institute of Child Psychology

For those who are looking for resources and further advice on children psychology, Johnson currently works with a number of Fort McMurray parents and offers online counselling services.

“The most important thing that we need to focus on for children with anxiety is warm, loving, stable, connected relationships in a predictable and safe environment,” she said. “Children need to have balance in their lives, lots of time outside, play and activities that fill their bucket instead of draining it.”

Free resources are available to the public on the Institute of Child Psychology website at www.instituteofchildpsychology.com and check for upcoming announcements on Facebook.

About the author

Editor-in-Chief at | dawn@balsom.ca

Dawn Booth is the Editor-in-Chief of YMM Parent Magazine. As a local freelance journalist and owner of the communication service, Media Booth. She has lived in Fort McMurray since 2007 and has actively worked in the Wood Buffalo region's media industry as a newspaper editor for over a decade.

Her passion is writing poetry and volunteering in the community. Most important, Booth puts her family of five first; which includes her husband Ryan, two sons Landon, 8, Dawson, 7, and daughter Tess, 4.