What is exactly peer support? Peer support was designed to fill in the gaps in our mental health support system. It is not an replacement of therapy, or any form of medical profession. Peer support is a way to share our story and knowing that there are others around us that have gone through a similar story. Peer support isn’t about dishing every detail of our own mental health challenges, it’s about the ability to lend a hand, a listening ear and a compassionate heart .
As beginning of a school year quickly approaches, many students whether in primary, secondary or post secondary are excited to start a new year of learning, yet there are many students who don’t feel the same way about school. According to a 2016 survey that was conducted by the Ontario Secondary, College and University Association, about 65 percent of students reported experiencing the feeling of being overwhelmed by anxiety. Anxiety is often defined as apprehensive about performing normal daily routines, fear, nervousness that can manifest into physical symptoms. So how do we help students to overcome their anxiety? We provide tools to assist in helping them cope, called the “coping box”
So what is a coping box? It’s a box of any size where you can place stuff that provides calmness during stages of nervousness, being overwhelmed and feeling fearful.
So where do you begin in creating a coping box? You can start by placing comforting things that carries through your 5 senses, for instance, something to smell, such as candles, something to hear such as music.
What does a coping box do? It keeps your mind off things while focusing on something that provides simplicity such as creating art, putting together a puzzle. It also brings in emotional awareness, such as expressing your feelings through drawing, journaling, poetry writing. In addition coping box also provides the ability of creating mindfulness and grounding tools such as breathing exercises, yoga, meditation.
Keeping a safety plan cue cards are also essential in your coping box such as contact information of support and resources when coping skills aren’t enough such as connecting with a therapist, a doctor, a friend, and/or crisis line.
When your outside world is in chaos,know that you still have the power to create calmness
When issues are only dealt with on a surface level .
What happens if we continue to band-aid? We continue to see the same stigma, the same struggles over and over and over again with no resolution.
At Embracing Empowerment we truly believe “peeling the onion (layers) ” meaning, getting to the “root” of struggles is the only way to reduce stigma and help those who continue to struggle with their own mental health/illness.
Trauma changes people, period. To understand that every struggle has a root, and in order to omit or diminish the pain we must understand the wounds within.
Hi “You’re crazy! You lied! You’ve changed! You need some real help! We will never know the “real” you! ”
Stigma- it can alter a life even end a life.
When we hear the word stigma we often look at it as a dark cloud, no one wants it, some are afraid to be around it and some would even use it for their own gain by calling others with labels even before understanding the impact it would have on someone.
Defining stigma needs to change. How? By understanding ourselves first, getting to know our own mental health can make a greater positive impact on ourselves and others.
When you are diagnosed with any form of mental health, it is a wave of change. However it can also be a voice of reason . How? By being able to say ” I am still ME, and this is part of me, but it doesn’t Define who I really AM” a powerful phrase that can omit the negative version of Stigma and enlightened a new way of thinking.
Remember , your VOICE IS YOUR POWER TO CHANGE ANYTHING INCLUDING HOW WE DEFINE STIGMA!
We Believe In You!
Doctors are always stressing to us about the importance of coming to their office for regular check ups to ensure that we continue to be healthy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But get this, did you know that such reminders isn’t limited to our physical health?! Mental Health Check Ins are as important as getting our physical health checked out.
So what entails in Mental Health Check Ins at Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services?
In the 30 Minute Free Consultation, we ask you basic questions such as, how you are feeling, what worked for you during the time of your distress, anger, sadness,(just to name a few), what didn’t work for you etc, and what we can offer you at Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services.
We believe that bandaiding mental health isn’t the solution, but understanding the pain underneath the bandaid, allows hope and healing to come in.
It’s so easy to feel “you’re losing it” when you have social anxiety.
You’re heart races, your body tenses up, you become quite confused, and you feel every ache in your body.
After hours later, you analyze the scenario you were in, dissecting how you should have handled the situation or environment. You feel quite alone, as you see friends and family moving forward with their day.
We’re here to tell you , You’re Not Alone!
In the era of information overload, it can sometimes be counterproductive to our own anxiety.
We are providing tips by stating the reality :
There is no quick fix, yet embracing the fact that there is no “one” way to reduce or manage social anxiety gives you the ability to know you have the power to engage what tips works for your specific anxiety.
Examining your social anxiety from within – meaning there is always a deeper root to everything – self discovery, self-love, self-care gives you the opportunity to explore more of how it all began- as we say at Embracing Empowerment CS- ” peeling the onion”
Understanding that we are imperfect beings is a very powerful tool. Social anxiety teaches us that we are suppose to be perfect, in a perfect situation, in perfect clothing, perfect outlook on life. We are here to say – there is beauty in imperfection. It’s okay to not be okay. no matter who you are, your economical status, your gender, your culture, your race – you are Worthy and Valued to have all the tools and guidance to help you become a healthier & stronger selves.
For the past decade, social media changed on how we think, look and interpret our world. Social media has given a platform for awareness on mental health, environment, injustice, political and social views. With a click of button, our world is interpreted through many eyes, however not all are seen in a positive light. Despite some positive impact that social media has it has also increased the perception of perfection, such as how someone should look like, how someone should feel, how someone should act, how someone should interact. Social media is an interpretation platform which is often subjective from person to person. One may look at a profile picture and may see a beautiful person while another may dissect on what the profile picture should look like. Social media definitely has an impact on one’s mental health. How? Imagine this for a minute:
A young woman, decided to change her profile picture from a filtered one to unfiltered. You may think that others would accept her as she is, yet she received numerous comments, calling her “pig” “ugly” “loser” . Now imagine the young woman reading this. She just wanted to be accepted for who she is and not what others wanted her to be. The name calling continues, and this young woman felt unwell, she started to isolate herself, withdraw from friends, family, school. She stayed in her room with the blinds closed, and just stared at the words that she was called by her so called friends. The names continued and the young woman learned to accept the words she was being called. The young woman took her own life, based on what social media portrayed her as – unwanted.
The co-relation between social media and mental health is fairly new, yet we continue to see tragic stories like the young woman on a daily basis.
In 2016 Anxiety UK conducted a survey on social media use – the survey indicated about 53 percent of social media users had changed their behaviour and 51 percent of these were reported to be negative impacts on social media use. Another alarming statistics according to Enough is Enough an organization that assists in helping families have safer guidelines for internet usage, about 95 percent of teens using any social media platform have witnessed cyberbullying! 95 percent! An alarming rate!
Social media is a great place for advocacy however to outsource the positive from the negative we must understand triggers, signs when someone is feeling that social media has had an impact on their lives. So how do we help?
For every negative word, we Speak up! For every negative outburst, We Use our Voice! For every negative outcome, We share our heartbreaking story. We overturn and outsource the real, the raw about the darkness as it is the sharing our story, that changes the outcome. We can use our voice to change , however to know that when we no longer have a voice, we seek help so others can be our voice . Lending a hand, a listening ear and a compassionate heart, not only changes our view of the world but it changes how we look at ourselves!
According to World Health Organization ( WHO) one million around the world take their own lives every year. To make it even more gruelling – every 40 seconds another life is taken by suicide.
No matter if you are a friend, family member, a stranger or a mental health professional these statistics are unsettling.
I remember a time when I had a friend contemplating on taking their own life. I’m not sure what I said to them but it swayed them from not going through with their plan. Years later, we reconnected, and I asked them what made their decision to not end their life – they said ” our conversation ”
What happen if I wasn’t there at that point of time ? Would they have gone through with their plan? The magnitude feeling you have, knowing that you saved somebody by merely having a conversation is surreal.
Today, we are in the heap of technology, social media – everything appears to be online. For the past few years online therapy has become a huge phenomenon. It’s easy, it’s convenient. However there is some tweaks yet to be made on how it would be delivered, received and the risks still have yet to measured.
For some getting into the techie world is not something they are ready for, and believe conversing a face to face conversation can be beneficial.
The options are open to all.
The power of conversation can save a life – “our voice is the most powerful tool – it can help guide you to your path and it can also help another who lost their way.” (quote by Founder, Owner & Therapist Of Embracing Empowerment Counselling Services – Parul Shah-08.23. 2016)