Mental health workshops for Richmond students

There will be therapy dogs and bubble tea.

High school students in Richmond have organized a series of mental health workshops to help their peers connect with mental wellness resources.

Fresh Start, a series of two evening workshops at the Thompson Community Centre this month, will focus on positive mental health on April 17 and turn to anxiety and stress on April 24.

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“We were talking about our own mental health, and we realized that a lot of us are really stressed out. And we don't feel like we have the resources to alleviate the stress,” said Joey Huang, Richmond Student District Council Organization chair.

RSDCO has lined up an alumni panel of Richmond high school graduates now in university to share strategies for teens to deal with a demanding academic schedule and social pressure along with extracurriculars and uncertainty about post-secondary applications.

Professional speakers from Jack.org are also coming in to work with students. Jack.org is a mental health advocacy organization started by Eric Windeler in memory of his son Jack Windeler, who died by suicide in 2010 while attending Queen’s University in Ontario.

The first talk, on April 17 called “Beyond Bubble Baths” will deconstruct the idea of self-care.

Huang hopes the speakers give students tools and resources to help them seek mental health help, should they need it. She also hopes getting students from across the district mingling can spark meaningful discussion to fight stigma surrounding mental illness.

There will also be therapy dogs and bubble tea on hand, for a more immediate pick-me-up.

The events run from 4 to 6:15 p.m. at Thompson Community Centre on April 17 and 24.  They are free and open to all Richmond School District students.

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