“Children are expected to grieve like adults. Kids also want to protect their parents. This camp is a one day program to help kids that it’s okay to keep going, that it’s okay to move on.”
Children react differently from adults, especially when it comes to grief. But it is during a child’s development that grief can become an important part in their life, as they grow older—depending on how they are able to handle it.
But children are capable of putting up a strong front, unable to express their emotions for the sake of those around them. But according to child psychologists, it shouldn’t be this way. Children should be free to express themselves with the help of adults.
This is the reason Lauren Consul and Ed Torres, co-founders of Mental Health platform, ListenHere, decided to put up a camp for the children processing a death of a loved one.
Camp Resilient Hearts is a one-day event on August 3, at VentureSpace PH that invites children and their parents to go through sessions to help the grieving process within a safe space directed by professional help.
Lauren, a licensed therapist, had seen the effect of the camp while she was in the United States. She wanted children from the Philippines to be able to experience the same.
“This is a safe space for them,” she says. “It’s for kids to let them be kids, to be able to talk about their guilt, their feelings with their parents involved in the program.
It’s well known to Asian families that mental health isn’t a topic that goes around the household. Lauren and Ed wanted to break the stigma through ListenHere by creating events such as Camp Resilient Hearts.
“Mental Health is such a taboo topic in the Philippines. Grief in itself is hard to talk about,” added Lauren. “Children are expected to grieve like adults. Kids also want to protect their parents. This camp is a one day program to help kids that it’s okay to keep going, that it’s okay to move on.”
THE PROGRAMCamp Resilient Hears will consist of adult volunteers for one-on-one time with the children, to help them ease into the program and build a trust with the adult. The kids will then be grouped for a mental health professional to lead them through the sessions. The group will give them the opportunity to share their feelings, if they choose to. The professional will help guide the children without forcing things. At the end of the day, there will be a memorial circle where children can decorate a rock in dedication to their loved one as a way to symbolize their connection with them and a process for them to move on and see that they are not alone, as other children will be doing the same. “This can be an emotional time for the children. It’s like a memorial service and every camper gets an opportunity,” explained Lauren.
This will be the first Camp Resilient Hears in Manila, and ListenHere hopes that there can be more.
ListenHere have a schedule of events in their page of different themes and activities that’s dedicated to their mental health advocacy. From writing workshops to improv training, there isn’t a barrier to talk about mental health through different avenues.
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