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  • Writer's pictureItsik Romano

Friends for Mental Health opens two programs for families with children

As Friends for Mental Health, a non-profit organization, enters their 40th year of providing services to individuals and families with loved ones struggling with mental health well-being disorders in the West Island community, they are thrilled to announce to opening of two new programs: Introduction to Art Therapy workshop for children, as well as an online support group for parents of children living with anxiety.

Photo: Friends for Mental Health

In addition to offering counseling, training, workshops, respite activities and conferences for members within the entourage of an individual living with both diagnosed and undiagnosed mental health issues, Friends for Mental Health “always seek to support caregivers and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health illnesses. That’s why we also work to raise awareness about mental health through our community outreach programs”, stated Alexandra Bellefeuille, the administrative assistant of the organization.

Therefore, after realizing the growing demand for a specific support group for parents of adolescents living with anxiety that quickly escalated since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have announced the new monthly support group starting August 29th on every 1st Monday of the month, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Different from their current support group for members living someone with anxiety and/or depression, “As the sharing of stories and strategies becomes more specific [as all participants are parents of adolescents aged 13 to 25], the more the other participants share a similar situation”. It is also a new branch of services offered by Friends for Mental Health as it is the first-ever support group for parents only.

With plans of bringing the group to an in-person setting in the upcoming future, the support group creates nonetheless a safe and secure environment “facilitated by a counselor that can provide insights, resources, and strategies to help the participants [as parents share their experiences]. There are no specific topics covered or prepared before starting This group allows the participants to talk about their conditions, verbalize and break their isolation, feel that they are not alone, to exchange strategies that may help in dealing with their difficult situations. The facilitator also works on distributing the time equally among the participants to ensure an equal interaction”, further clarified Bellefeuille.

Photo: Friends for Mental Health

Likewise, they are happy to bring back a workshop for kids to physically get together after two years through the newly announced Introduction to Art Therapy workshop taking place on August 22nd and 23rd in 186 Sutton Place, Suite 121, Beaconsfield. It provides children between the ages of 6 and 12 a safe and exclusive opportunity to demystify mental health, express their emotions, and navigate their strengths through the creative aspects of art. The program is created with the intention to create “a good place for [children] to slowly start the process of getting help. We often forget that children are impacted when a loved one has a mental health issue. We created this workshop to respond to their specific needs”. Family members are welcome to join consequent counseling sessions.

Photo: Friends for Mental Health

Membership and pre-registration are required for both programs. Friends and Mental Health’s Annual Membership gives free and unlimited access to counseling sessions, groups, activities, and other conferences. For more details on the various options and to register, visit


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