By Chelsea Carter
You wouldn’t expect Jess to become anxious in front of a group of teenagers. When you meet her she’s all smiles and has a calm friendly demeanour. However, she says that when she first started leading mindfulness workshops as a volunteer with the Crisis Centre, she would feel extremely anxious – as most people do when speaking in front of a group.
However, she found a way to overcome these sensations; she put into practice the very thing she was teaching. She was mindful of her emotions, of the feeling of anxiety that she would feel at first during a workshop, and she learned to sit with these emotions. Instead of allowing these emotions to overcome her she used mindfulness to allow the emotions become a part of her workshop, a part of her own mindfulness practice.
“It can be really intimidating,” Jess says about presenting, “but there’s something cool about doing something that intimidates you and then receiving all this positive feedback at the end and knowing you’ve made a connection.”
She began volunteering with the Crisis Centre after taking part in a workshop held by the Centre for her employer. Mindfulness had played a big role in her life over the past four years and she strongly identified with the workshop’s message. She offered to become a volunteer on the spot.
In addition to being able to increase her own knowledge of mindfulness through courses provided by the Crisis Centre, Jess was also able to put to use other lifesaving skills she learned through the safeTalk training.
When a colleague mentioned wanting to die in passing, playing it off as a simple joke, Jess realized she needed to reach out. She had taken safeTalk with the Crisis Centre and was aware that this was a sign of someone potentially in crisis, so she used what she had learned and reached out.
“Have you thought of suicide?”
Straight to the point, no beating around the bush. It was the direct question needed to get her colleague along the road to support. As a mindfulness educator with the Crisis Centre, Jess was also aware of the many resources that the Crisis Centre makes available to participants through its workshops and gave these to her friend in need. Jess notes the importance of having these resources so readily available.
“People just don’t know where to look and when you’re at that point you might not have the energy to look either. The great thing about the Crisis Centre workshops was that it gives you all these resources, and I was able to pass these on to her.”
With Jess’ support and resources, her colleague was able to be properly diagnosed and begin receiving the mental health support she needed.
Learn new skills or improve on old ones, or even overcome your fear of public speaking by volunteering with the Crisis Centre today!