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Youth workers offer mental health support during a difficult time -

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Youth workers at Backstage Youth for Christ in Steinbach worked with local teenagers to address mental health issues following some tragic deaths in the community.

The organization serves as a resource for young people in the area and has seen firsthand the impact that mental health can have on families and individuals. In response, a number of young people have come forward to speak with YFC about their experiences and recent deaths in the community.

Backstage’s Ashley Reimer says whether it’s a conversation, a listening ear or even just a distraction you’re looking for, YFC wants to help.

“We had quite a few coffees, different conversations, whether it was anger, grief or just sharing happy memories and photos.”

All Backstage staff are trained in a suicide intervention training program called ASSIST, which is an acronym for Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training.

As soon as a crisis arises, they start reaching out and reaching out to people who have been affected by the situation.

They also post online, so young people can see that they are available if they want to reach out.

YFC’s Reuben Singh notes that as a parent, it’s important to talk to your kids about mental health.

Don’t be afraid to tackle it first, instead of waiting for your child to initiate it.

“I think there’s a stigma when we lose somebody to suicide or that kind of thing that we can’t talk about, ‘because what if I give somebody that idea?'” Well, it’s not,” he said. “You’re not going to insert an idea that isn’t already there, so let’s talk about it.”

Your child may tell you that he does not have mental health problems or that he does. Or they may say they don’t when they actually do.

He suggests asking your kids if they’ve ever thought about suicide, especially if you’re worried about them.

You should also ask him if he has anyone else in his life to talk to, or at least if he feels like he can talk.

Reimer says parents shouldn’t be the only people children share their problems with.

“There are very good supports in the schools, Backstage is good support and youth groups too. Just see if they have other adults they talk to about their lives.

The Hanover School Division has many social workers and counselors who are open to everyone. Even if they are not in your child’s school, every student has access to them.

She adds that there are often signs that your child’s mental health is not doing well.

“Not eating enough, eating too much, needing to sleep all the time, just feeling tired, maybe also not connecting much with their circles of friends or engaging much with family.”

Of course, some of these symptoms could just be regular behavior for your teen, the key is knowing what is normal for your child and what is irregular.

Singh says you know your child, you know your friends, and you can tell when their behavior changes.

“If such and such is generally a calm and withdrawn individual, that’s normal. If they’re really sociable, but suddenly very quiet and withdrawn after a traumatic incident, “maybe I need to talk to that person because their behavior is different.” It’s not the norm. »

Reimer reiterates that it’s important to be engaged in a conversation about mental health.

“Ask questions, check in with people on how they are doing, and allow them to respond as they see fit,” she says. “When we have trusting relationships, that’s when people will be willing to share if things aren’t going so well. No one has to do this alone.”

If you know someone who is struggling, Reimer encourages you to connect to other resources so you know how to help those struggling people.