Parenting Through Anxiety aims to give parents confidence in using skills and resources to help their children cope, and to provide parents with practical support to manage their own journey with anxiety. Parenting Through Anxiety aims to give parents confidence in using skills and resources to help their children cope, and to provide parents with practical support to manage their own journey with anxiety.

Successful parental anxiety group looking to grow

A support group for parents with anxiety or parents with children suffering from anxiety symptoms has been so successful, organizers are hoping to offer more resources for parents in the future.

“People are coming and sharing stories – they are opening up and it’s a privilege,” said Sarah Hoffman, a counsellor with the Comox Valley Family Services Association. “There are still lots of people who are not aware (anxiety) is such a big issue, but the conversation is becoming more normal. Anxiety is all about control and avoidance, but in a group situation, this helps a lot with that.”

Thanks to funding by Child and Youth Mental Health along with the CVFSA, the initial Parenting Through Anxiety group – which began at the end of January – is nearing completion.

The focus, explained Hoffman, is twofold: to give parents confidence in using skills and resources to help their children cope, and to provide parents with practical support to manage their own journey with anxiety.

Michelle Guthrie, early years group facilitator for healthy families added there is real value in parents understanding that they are not alone in their struggles.

“Over the years, anxiety has been very hidden, and now there is a shift going on.”

Hoffman noted a large part of the program is mindfulness and hands-on tools to help reduce anxiety symptoms.

Registration for the class filled up so quickly that Hoffman began a waiting list, and she and Guthrie agree they would like to get another class running as soon as possible.

“The beauty of the group is that it is free – it speaks to the need and to have it accessible to everyone.”

While the initial group targeted parents with children ages 5 through 10 years old, Hoffman noted if a child falls outside of the range to contact the CVFSA, as she is assessing the need for future Parenting Through Anxiety groups.

For more information or to assist the agency to host future groups, contact Hoffman at 250-338-7575, ext 222, or sarah.h@cvfsa.org.

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