Tackling Anxiety and Stress through Arts and Mindfulness

It's January 31, the Bell Let's Talk date.  Denlow SAC sponsored the "Tackling Anxiety and Stress through Arts and Mindfulness" (TASAM) program for both student and parents. 

TASAM is a program that uses the arts to help kids to discuss and find strategies to cope with anxiety. They learned that anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease. It can be normal or it can be stressful. During the school day, TASAM instructors led students in dance, visual arts, storytelling (ask your child about the caveman story with the sabre-toothed tiger), and mindful movements.  

During the evening, parents were able to  learn strategies for reducing stress and tips for parenting anxious children. We learned that anxiety makes us live in the future (eg. "What if..."), whereas mindfulness gets us to focus on the present moment, acknowledging what we feel and not fight it, which then brings stress levels down.

One thing to note is that mental health stigma has decreased but it hasn't completely gone away. Stigma continues to tell us "My mental illness is not that bad, not that serious," and this stigma cheats us from getting the help we need for normal functioning.  There are many resources available for help - see the handout in the link below. 

There is so much that we heard about in the evening parent talk that it is hard to due it justice in this blog.  Click here to download the Parent Handout

Many thanks to our long-time and dedicated parent Marie D-B who not only organized the TASAM full-day event, but also applied for the Parents Reaching Out (PRO) grant last summer providing Denlow with $1000 from the TDSB to help subsidize this program for both students and parents. Thank you to Marie, Ms. Sutherland, and the Denlow staff for a wonderful full day!!

Eunice Youhanna