Executive director Manisha Willms of the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre and Hailey Anderson enjoy the LED bubble tube inside Otis’ Cave, a sensory calming place to help reduce anxiety in children. Mark Brett/Western News

Child anxiety issues addressed

Large turnout for OSNS workshops on anxiety issues facing young children

Anxiety issues among young children is a growing concern.

Just how much the matter is in the forefront of parents’ minds was evidenced in the turnout at the first two of a series of workshops on the topic at the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre.

“In the first one last Wednesday (Feb. 15) we were hoping for at least 12 families but we had 34 families who registered, representing over 45 children and so we’re really excited,” said OSNS executive director Manisha Willms, who is conducting two of the four sessions including last Wednesday’s. “It’s (high number of registrants) bad in a way that so many people have concerns but I don’t think that’s new information for us. We’ve known for some time this is a real area of need, that many children even at a young age are struggling with a lot of worry and anxiety that’s real and is outside of what we typically expect kids to experience, to a point where it affects their behaviour.

“We know that youth mental health is an area of great need so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to us that those needs are starting early.”

Related: OSNS helping kids and parents

The workshop was presented by Dr. Jodi Morris, who specializes in child psychology and works with youth at the centre and in Kelowna.

According to Morris everyone has anxiety in their life and it’s important to distinguish between that and the more serious problems which can escalate.

“Often times kids struggle with anxiety if it’s left untreated, some kids do figure out things on their own and they’re fine,” she said. “But some kids, unfortunately, instead of it being labelled as anxiety or emotional distress, they sometimes just get labelled as destructive or bad kids and that can impact their self esteem and their school performance.

“If a child is having extreme anxiety so that they are refusing to go to preschool, if they’re fearful of trying new things so not socializing with their peers or participating in activities or if their reaction is just kind of extended or out of proportion to whatever event it is to whatever event they’re feeling anxious about this is when it is a cause for concern.”

The way to combat the problem is to give parents and children the tools they need to deal with the anxiety.

“It is really important because children quite often won’t talk about feeling anxious or worried or being upset and it comes out in their behaviour,” said Morris. “This can cause considerable distress in families and in the daycare setting.”

The remaining workshops are Feb. 22, March 1 and March 8.

Just Posted

Penticton patient care tower fundraising going strong

About $14.3 million in donations for the Penticton hospital has come in

Exercising her right to fight

Thinking inside the box helped push Geneva Kostashen through cancer treatment

Council approves all tax exemption requests

List includes charities, service groups and the Penticton Golf and Country Club

Day 2 of RCMP search at Silver Creek residence

Police use backhoe in ongoing search effort at residential/agricultural Salmon River Road property

TGIF: South Okanagan concerts and events

Live theatre, concerts, events, art exhibits and more from around the South Okanagan

Mixing up local talent and cocktails

The annual Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery Mixoff takes place in Kelowna in November

B.C. search groups mobilize for missing mushroom picker

Searchers from across the province look for Frances Brown who has been missing since Oct. 14.

Search for missing B.C. man a race against winter weather

David Jeff of Williams Lake was last seen in Kamloops during the chaotic wildfire evacuations

Bantam Vees tournament good prep for start of the season

Penticton hockey team heads into regular season with just one loss in nine exhibition games

Auntie Says: Don’t bring your dope to my house

Don’t judge me and I won’t judge you, but if you try and smoke at my house, you’ll be asked to leave

Man steals police car, goes for a ‘slow’ ride

Mission RCMP say the motive of the theft is unknown

Dodgers punch ticket to World Series

This will be the first time the Los Angles Dodgers have made it to the World Series since 1988.

Surf group winning the war on plastic bags

The Tofino Co-op will no longer provide plastic bags, following in the footsteps of the Ucluelet location that already made the change earlier this year.

All three victims identified in Fernie arena ammonia leak

Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith were from Fernie and Jason Podloski from Turner Valley, Alta

Most Read