In 2020, the Kids & Teens in Control programs moved online due to COVID-19. Though the format of our programs changed, delivering virtual workshops and groups allowed us to continue to offer support to children and youth, while covering the same important topics in a safe, relaxed, and fun learning environment.

Youth Connect with Peers in Virtual Workshops

Through online workshops, youth were able to connect with peers who also had a family member with mental illness. Youth who attended these workshops said that knowing there were other youth who share similar feelings and experiences was very important to them. They learned that their feelings are common, and that they are not alone.

Discovering Shared Feelings

Artwork created by Teens in Control program participants.

One of the common themes emerging from our Teens in Control online workshops was that youth felt a lack of validation for their feelings. It sometimes felt as if they couldn’t have their own feelings, because they are not the ones with mental illness. If they had a bad day, they didn’t feel like they could communicate this to their family member with mental illness.

“In Teens in Control, I learned about how to communicate with my family a lot better. I loved the classes and talking to the other girls. I didn’t feel alone anymore. I could finally talk about what was going on at home and everyone understood and listened. I thought the class was amazing!”

Teens in Control participant

Through Teens in Control online workshops, the youth discovered that they shared common feelings with each other—and that their feelings are valid. They each have their challenges, and it’s okay for them to have and express their own feelings. They were also able to understand that it was okay to have feelings and struggles related to their family member’s mental illness.

Learning to Care for Yourself

Throughout these online workshops, youth learned about mental illness, self-care strategies, how to cope with difficult feelings, and how to communicate with someone with mental illness.

“[I learned how] to improve my relationships and [better] understand someone with mental illness. I think it is important for others to be able to learn and gain what I did from this group.”

Teens in Control participant

Participants found information from every session to be particularly helpful. For example, they learned how to set boundaries with someone, and that it’s a very important aspect of communication and self-care, and setting boundaries doesn’t mean that they don’t still love the person.

You Are Not Alone

Children and youth that participate in our Kids & Teens in Control programs may arrive feeling like they are alone in their struggles, but leave knowing they are not alone. These groups have provided and will continue to provide much needed connection and support to youth who may have no other outlets for sharing their thoughts and feelings.

The tools and information they learn help them cope with the challenges they face daily when dealing with a family member who has a mental illness. The key takeaway of our programs is that they didn’t cause it, they can’t change it, but they can learn to care for themselves.

Learn more about our Kids & Teens in Control programs.

Upcoming Programs

The Kids & Teens in Control groups for January are full! If you’re interested in signing up for either program, contact us to add your name to the list for the next group.

For more information and to add your name to the waiting list, please contact 604-679-1191 or kicfrasernorth@bcss.org.

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