This pandemic has created new stress for adults, challenging our mental well-being. But children have been impacted, too.
So free mental wellness sessions are now being offered for boys ages 12 to 14 years old through the University Area CDC's Wellness U Program.
"Mental health is very important for everybody. And it's not taught in school," explained mental health counselor Crystal Clark.
Clark will be teaching the program and hopes it will help improve their communication skills.
"There's a lot of stigmas, you know, that we don't go to counseling or if we have a problem, that we just need to keep it to ourselves. And let's be honest, boys are not supposed to cry. That's been said forever. You know, so a lot of times they channel their anger. They channel their emotions," she explained.
Clark says boys learn from a young age not to discuss their feelings.
"They don't know what they feel. And a lot of times with men and boys, the things that they feel are happiness and anger. They don't know what sadness looks like, frustration looks like.
It's happiness and anger," she said.
Clark will also teach these kids how to recognize when they're having a problem.
"Identify what stress looks like. Identify what anxiety looks like and that it's okay if they feel that way. I also want to help them learn healthy boundaries and establishing healthy relationships," Clark explained.
Clark will also focus on anger warning signs, how to cope with aggression, effective communication techniques and more.
"Give them some new coping skills so when they are feeling a certain type of way, they can know to breathe or some mindfulness or some grounding techniques," she said.
And if you're a parent worried about your child's behavior, Clark says this class can help and so can therapy.
"People don't understand how important therapy is. And a lot of people look at it is, 'I'm telling my business.' But it's really just an emotional outlet with a person that doesn't know you and is unbiased of everything that you're telling them," she said.
The free mental wellness session for boys 12 to 14 years old will take place every Monday for six weeks starting Sept. 13 to Oct. 1 from 6 to 8 p.m.
They will be held at the Harvest Hope Center at 13704 N. 20th Street in Tampa.
If you're interested, contact Ronnie Oliver at (813) 558-5212 X 310 or email here: firstname.lastname@example.org
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