A lot of people come to me when they aren't sure where to turn, or when they don't know how to help their friend/family member, and I'm grateful that I can be of help because I've got all this information in my brain and no degree or qualification to use it in a job (being a three time university drop out is sooo fun). As far as free programs in the greater Vancouver area, I can't stress enough how helpful I found the YMCA Youth Mindfullness program. I always tell people who are experiencing anxiety to put their names on this waitlist. It takes a little while to get into the program, but it is so worth it. This is for people who can get to the Robert Lee YMCA or the Surrey YMCA once a week, ages either 13-17 or 18-30. If your brain goes straight to zen yoga masters when you hear the word mindfulness, and that totally turns you off it, then this course is for you. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or ACT is all about using mindfulness to accept unpleasant emotions and continue to follow your values while experiencing anxiety, depression, or whatever else is on your plate. I feel a little like I'm in an infomercial right now, but trust me on this one. Click here to apply to the youth mindfulness program, or google "teen mindfulness program ymca" to find resources for ages 13-17. If you are over 30 or don't live in Vancouver, read the book The Happiness Trap with a friend and do the homework. That's a great way to learn ACT if this course isn't available to you. The Happiness Trap also comes in comic book form for those who are too depressed or anxious to focus on reading a book, like I was when I went through this program. Look up any ACT or DBT programs in your area as well... there will most likely be a big waitlist so just put your name on there! You can always say no later. I actually didn't show up to the info session the first time my name was called because I was just too depressed. But they called me again for the next intake, and it changed my life. Okay, I'm done with my infomercial. I hope it helped. If you ever need any help finding resources, just email me or reach out through instagram.
P.S. My cartoon hair is so awesome, thank you to Minh Ngo for drawing this journey.