Last week I pre-recorded a segment for an episode of “Where Do The Children Play” on Trent Radio 92.7 CFFF FM which aired last Thursday morning.
The show which runs 3 mornings a week was created for kids and features story time and fun kid’s music.
The station itself was established and is operated solely by the students of Trent University in Peterborough Ontario.
I read my children’s book “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” to their listeners and spoke briefly afterwards about why I wrote it and the importance of not only talking to children about a loved ones mental health challenges but also reassuring them that they are safe, loved and not responsible or to blame for it.
I have posted the segment below if you would like to hear it.
Thank you again to Skye Vasey for allowing me to share my story and for all your hard work and dedication to this program.
Feel free to reach out to me if you would like to purchase a copy of my book for your classroom, school library, a preschool setting or for yourself or a loved one.
It’s no secret that the pandemic has caused serious disruptions and added stress to all of our lives since it began a year ago which has also led to an even bigger mental health crisis, especially among our youth.
Between dealing with the constant disruptions in their routine, being isolated from their friends, fearing that they or someone they love will get sick and the added financial stressors that many families are now facing, it is quite understandable.
These concerns (and many others) that our youth are facing right now is making them more vulnerable than ever before to Depression, Anxiety, Eating Disorders, Addiction and Suicidal Ideations.
Kids who have never exhibited signs of a mental health disorder or mental distress prior to Covid-19 are taking their own lives at alarming rates and many of them sadly choose to stay silent, most likely feeling alone and scared that their life will never get better.
Communication and connection are critical for our young people. Parents need to be even more vigilant than ever when it comes to their children’s mental health. We know our kids best.
Talk to them. Ask them how they are doing, and then keep asking them. Check in with them, check in with them often and then listen. If something feels off, always trust your Mama and Papa Bear instincts because not everyone who thinks about Suicide will willingly want to talk about it.
Signs to look out for:
Making suicidal statements.
Being preoccupied with death.
Giving away belongings.
Having aggressive or hostile behaviour.
Neglecting personal appearance.
A change in personality.
Intense sadness and/or hopelessness.
Not caring about activities that used to matter.
Social withdrawal from family, friends, sports, social activities.
Inability to think clearly/concentration problems.
Declining school performance.
Changes in appetite.
***Boston’s Children’s Hospital***
If you or someone you know is in crisis or in need of immediate help please call 911 or go to your nearest hospital. Or call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1.833.456.4566 or Kids Help Phone at 1.800.668.6868
I wanted to reshare a blog with you that I wrote exactly one year ago today when, for most of us, our biggest fear at the time surrounding the Coronavirus was whether or not we had enough toilet paper on hand “just in case” we were forced into a 2 week quarantine.
None of us could ever have imagined how much our lives were about to be turned upside down or forever changed and we definitely could never have predicted we would still be dealing with the devastation from the Coronavirus in its entirety a whole year later.
I read an article the other day whose title immediately caught my eye. It read:
4 million cries for help: Calls to Kids Help Phone soar amid pandemic.
As I continued on to read the body of the article my heart sank further.
Since the onset of the Pandemic last March, Kids Help Phone has seen an upsurge in calls from young people. Statistics show that calls, texts and their many other online resources have more than doubled since the previous year and they are now receiving over 800 calls, texts etc. every day from all across Canada (with Ontario making up for approximately half of those calls received each day).
Callers have been as young as 5 years old with a good majority of the calls coming in between midnight and 4 am. Many of these call are related to feelings of isolation, loneliness, self/body image, virtual learning, missed milestones and an overall deterioration of their mental health. And of all the calls received by their large team of trained counsellors per day, there is at minimum, 10 calls where police are being dispatched for “active suicide rescues”.
These stats are truly heartbreaking but I am so thankful at the same time that our youth have a safe place like Kids Help Phone to reach out to in order to help them survive a Pandemic. Knowing just how many of our young people have become so withdrawn, angry, frustrated, anxious and sad (and rightfully so) is beyond scary.
I hear from speaking with so many concerned parents in my community (and beyond) how their kids are staying up all night gaming with friends online just to feel some sort of connection and how so many more have completely checked out from their daily routines, especially online learning. The concerns over the emotional and financial impacts that isolation and lockdowns are having on our youth are growing more and more concerning by the day and suicides among our youth are increasing at alarming rates.
As spring quickly approaches, (at least according to Wiarton Willie, the adorable little Groundhog that is, who just yesterday predicted an early spring, yay), I had recently been giving a great deal of thought to starting another Graduation Initiative again this year for the Class of 2021.
I will afterall in just two short months have another Graduate in my home, who as of yesterday received the disappointing news in an email from her University informing her (what we already knew in our hearts) that they will be postponing her Spring Convocation Ceremony until such time when large public gatherings can once again take place safely.
I know how much disappointment, anger and sadness this reality caused my other daughter last spring when both her Prom and Graduation ceremony were cancelled, along with millions of other young people’s around the world but after reading the article and taking note of the imminent crisis our young people are facing due to the Pandemic I felt a great sense of pride knowing that the 10k that I along with the help of 100’s of incredibly generous and kindhearted people in and around my community helped raise and donate to Kids Help Phone last spring, that the money went to a very worthwhile cause.
I now feel as though I have at least 4 million more reasons to take on this initiative once again and who knows, maybe with the help of my amazing community we could double the amount of proceeds we raised last spring.
Services like Kids Help Phone are needed more than ever before and even though it may only be a stepping stone toward other resources or long term services for some, our young people deserve a fighting chance and are going to need all the help they can get long after the Pandemic is over because although many of the imminent issues at hand may one day dissipate, the lingering effects and fallout from the Pandemic are sadly going to affect much of our younger generations for many years to come.
If you or someone you know needs a safe and confidential place to start please call Kids Help Phone at: 1.800.668.6868 or text: 686868
I’m struggling more than usual right now and it almost feels like it’s beyond repair.
My tears have all but dried up at this point and I feel as though I have nothing left to give of myself. My safe place no longer feels safe and I find myself looking for desperate ways to escape from these painful thoughts and feelings.
I wish there was such a thing as a magic pill that I could swallow which would stop these desperate thoughts and feelings from taking control of me instead of wanting to end my life forever.
I haven’t been able to shake these desperate thoughts and feelings for the better part of a week now. I’ve tried escaping them by going for walks at unreasonable hours, writing and most importantly trying to lean on others for support, including my Therapist, but I feel like such a burden right now which has made it that much more difficult to do.
But I also know that reaching out for help is so important, especially as I desperately try to hold on in order to survive right now. This feeling is also why when I was approached to do an interview today with City TV News I knew it was maybe a sign.
The interview was about a new telephone Helpline being set up in York Region to provide counselling for those suffering, specifically through Covid related issues due to restrictions, isolation etc. I knew it was something I needed to do for both myself and the many others who are feeling desperate and scared right now. I knew I needed to continue to be that voice and let others like me find hope and strength in knowing that reaching out for support is more than okay, in fact it’s beyond okay.
I had put the link to this new service (which is free) on a blog the other day titled “Going To Therapy is Cool” @https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2021/01/21/going-to-therapy-is-cool and feel free to check out my Interview on City TV at 5 or 6pm tonight.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”~Maya Angelou
@theholdernessfamily have been a great source of laughter and comfort for me over the last many months.
Their videos are always so creative, entertaining, nostalgic and often carry with it a strong and meaningful message.
The Holderness family is so relatable to so many of us who are also just desperately trying to survive and navigate their way through day to day life during a Global Pandemic in the best and safest way possible.
I know we are all missing our loved ones and have had to sacrifice so much this year (and I don’t believe that closing small businesses and retail stores as they have done so in parts of Ontario this week is necessarily the answer but then again do we really know what the right answer is anymore?).
This latest parody video holds a super powerful message and not just for our American friends and family who are busy preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving this week, but for everyone around the Globe who so urgently wants to be with their friends and other family members.
The good news however is that there is an end in sight, so for now lets all do our part to keep each other safe by continuing to socially distance and wear a mask.
Follow The Holderness Family on Facebook and Instagram; you won’t be disappointed and Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate.
November is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Canada. Statistics show that 1 in 3 Canadian women will experience domestic abuse from an intimate partner in their lifetime, but it does not stop there as it can affect people of all races, cultures, socioeconomic classes, religions, genders and sexual orientations.
Domestic violence is also a much broader epidemic than just that of physical abuse as it could likely include several other forms of abuse as well such as sexual, psychological and emotional.
Since the start of the Pandemic, domestic violence has become a Pandemic within a Pandemic once the stay-at-home-orders came into effect and with a big surge in job loss, unemployment, economic instability, childcare instability, housing instability and travel restrictions it has made it more and more difficult for many victims who have been confined to their homes with their abusers to safely connect with the necessary services or outside help including reporting to authorities.
Many victims are staying out of fear or because they feel trapped, both of which have been very likely scenerios even long before the Pandemic began.
Although there are many signs that someone is being abused, they are not always as visible to outsiders, especially with so many of the current living circumstances for victims right now.
It can also be very difficult to clearly see signs of abuse because most perpetrators learn the art of manipulation and control over their victim’s mind and emotions.
Signs of Abuse: -Bullying, threatening or controlling tactics -Controlling your money -Cutting you off from your family and friends -Physical or sexual abuse
Keep an eye out for these signs if you think a loved one is a victim of domestic violence:
-Excuses for injuries -Personality changes, like low self-esteem in someone who was always confident -Constantly checking in with their partner -Never having money on hand -Overly worried about pleasing their partner -Skipping out on work, school, or social outings for no clear reason -Wearing clothes that don’t fit the season, like long sleeves in summer to cover bruises
Lastly, if your gut is telling you that a friend or loved one may be a victim of domestic violence say something! Listen, ask questions and offer to help in any way you can. And remember, never judge another person’s situation or a decision that someone else may make unless you have walked a mile in their shoes. Empower them instead to give them the courage they may need to become stronger and more confident.
I feel like a teenage girl sometimes who is overcome with emotion and a genuine devotion to a Pop Sensation. To many, it may seem odd that I would be obsessing over a Teen Heartthrob the way I do, but there is some unexplainable connection I have to Justin Bieber.
Maybe it started off as a way to connect with my girls who began obsessing over him well before they were teenagers themselves or maybe it’s because of his Canadian roots and that he grew up just an hour and a half away from me in Stratford, Ontario and still comes home VERY regularly to visit with his dad, Step Mom and siblings or maybe it’s his adoration for the Toronto Maple Leafs, cheering them on and attending as many home games as he possibly could as though he was just some “regular” ten year old boy idolizing their favourite Hockey team, or maybe it’s his “bad boy” persona that I like lol.
Perhaps though, the more probable explanation would be because that once 16 year old “bad boy” who literally rose to stardom overnight is now a happily married 26 year old young man who has so bravely allowed the world to see a very relatable, imperfect and vulnerable side to his life’s journey. Over the past couple of years he has let the world know that he is only human and that he struggles with his mental health and loneliness just like millions of his adoring fans.
His new song titled “Lonely” is a perfect anthem for so many of his very impressionable young (and old) fans. The song is an emotional ballad that reflects on the obstacles he faced as he rose to stardom, especially his feelings of isolation and loneliness and how difficult it was for him to find the kind of emotional support he so desperately needed at the time which soon led to his “bad boy” persona and an eventual diagnosis of Depression.
We all feel lonely sometimes, even when you are famous and have millions of dollars in your bank account and just like the Biebs, we all crave genuine human connection and want so much to feel understood and cared for. So I just wanted to say a special thank you to you Justin for not only your music and talent but for sharing your voice with the world and most of all for letting us know that our feelings are valid no matter who we are.
And P.S. Next time you’re in town, call me, we’ll do lunch!
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