Updated: Mar 29
Almost every day there is an email in my business Inbox talking about the ‘Covid mental health crisis’. Emails from our benefits provider, our contractor’s association, various governmental agencies, the Chamber of Commerce. The same is true in my Reclaim Connection Inbox. Emails from the organizations from which I have taken coaching or psychotherapy courses. It seems that everyone is aware of a looming mental health crisis from Covid – from being in lockdown, from losing jobs or having hours decreased, from working at home for months on end, from trying to teach children at home, from losing loved ones to this virus.
The Alberta government has increased its budget for mental health and addictions treatment by 24% for the upcoming year. Certainly these are badly needed services, but this doesn’t address the needs of most Albertans. What is being done to address mental health conditions before they result in addictions and mental health crises?
I have listened to a few webinars that give strategies for stress reduction and most of what I have heard has been sound advice. But I think we all know how people deal with advice – hearing it and then taking it are two different things. Actually making the changes necessary to reduce stress and prevent burnout takes willpower, stamina, courage and support of others. In this time of social distancing and Zoom communications, creating change from listening to a Zoom webinar is probably not going to be a highly successful way to deal with a mental health crisis.
I recently completed a certification course in Workplace Mental Health Leadership through our benefits provider at work. This week I also received an email from the Worker’s Compensation Board advising employers to have a critical incident plan in place that addresses psychological injury. As important as it is to be able to recognize and respond to mental health challenges in employees, perhaps we should look ahead and find ways of helping prevent such crises in the first place. What is needed are tools to help people be more resilient to the effects of stress.
Mulling this all over, I decided that Reclaim Connection could make a valuable contribution to dealing with the Covid mental health crisis by empowering individuals to understand and find resilience, the “process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress.” I will be offering Finding Resilience, a one-day equine-facilitated learning workshop created specially to strengthen work teams, once our weather in Alberta is conducive to outdoor activities. This small group, experiential learning opportunity combines the latest research on resilience with specific tools and techniques developed by Eponaquest Worldwide and by the HeartMath® Institute to teach people self-awareness skills, how to recognize signs of stress in themselves and others, and how to calm and regulate their nervous systems in response to stress. This is embodied learning, where the participant actually senses the change in their body as they practice these techniques. The unique experience that I can offer is the opportunity to take this learning into the pen with a horse and give someone the chance to try out these tools with a truly sensitive animal who will give real-time feedback to the person on the effectiveness of what they are learning. In Finding Resilience, we will look at three aspects of resilience – self-awareness, connection and co-regulation, and group coherence. Theory and tools will be brought into practice through exercises with the horses. These experiences can create lasting change in a person, as they quickly discover what works and what doesn’t work when they are with the horse. Every one of the activities translates into skills that can then be taken into the workplace or boardroom.
This workshop is designed for 4 participants, but can be customized to smaller groups, families or individuals. Please contact me for further information and to book your workshop. firstname.lastname@example.org