“Knowing that I’m not alone in my struggles makes a huge difference”, writes one of the youth from our Teens2Twenties Support Group—our drop-in program for youth dealing with mental heath challenges. The group runs every Thursday from 7:00 – 8:30pm at the Quadra Village Community Center in Victoria, B.C.
With mental health at the forefront of many awareness campaigns, it is easy to forget that many people still suffer in silence. Even though the conversation has started, many of us with mental health challenges often feel isolated and afraid.
Working with youth who are dealing with so much adversity, yet still showing up and bearing their souls, is so inspiring to me. To come into a room full of strangers and open up about what’s really going on beneath the surface can be so intimidating, especially when social anxiety is part of the equation. Even as the group facilitator, I often find it difficult to be really honest about where I’m at sometimes.
We’re so conditioned to say that things are fine, to avoid being a “downer”, to not take up too much time. Yet it is exactly in taking that time to open up, and risk being seen, that other people start to feel less alone. Some space can open up to feel a little lighter, to realize that even if things aren’t all good, they are still going to be okay. I love the sense of humor that young people have. Things can be challenging, but there is always something to laugh about. I have learned so much about resilience since working with the youth that attend the Teens2Twenties Support Group.
Something I love about our group is that people are open to trying new things. We’ve gone on sunset hikes, attended poetry slams, and discovered some tremendous artistic talent during art nights. Mental health challenges can make social outings difficult, but they don’t have to be a barrier. Especially when we know we’re not alone in our fears.
When we are not fighting to get by on our own, we have the strength and compassion to lift each other up and keep going.
With appreciation for the Teens2Twenties Support Group participants, I applaud and appreciate you.
~Robyn Thomas, Lead Facilitator, Teens2Twenties Support Group