Stories from the Frontlines - Rashika
COVID-19 is adding new stressors to families already at their thresholds. Find out how Annamaria, a CDI Child Worker, is helping families through it all.
Prior to COVID-19, I began working with Imani*, 8, and her family in the SNAP Girls program. Meeting Imani, it was clear she was facing a variety of challenges every day, including difficulty self-regulating and staying calm. Her mother has ongoing struggles with her own mental health and as a result, the two have had difficulty communicating with one another. This was several months ago, prior to the quarantine and accompanying stressors that it has brought.
When it first arrived in Canada, COVID-19 triggered fear and anxiety among many Canadians. Once March Break began, Imani’s family decided to leave their home in the busy GTA and head to her grandparent’s farm an hour away. While this made social distancing easier, it meant adapting to a new environment and building a new routine. While this initially seemed a small sacrifice for some peace of mind, things quickly took a turn. Imani’s grandfather became sick (unrelated to the coronavirus) and was admitted to the hospital, increasing anxiety for the entire family around exposure to the virus.
Imani’s mother stepped up to take care of the family farm, neglecting her own mental health and draining herself of the energy to properly care for her daughter. Imani was overwhelmed, and she reacted by showing attitude, not listening, yelling and saying mean things to her mom and grandparents. This is where I got to step in with CDI’s SNAP Girls programming.
During this unprecedented time, we have been able to quickly shift our offerings to continue providing support to many families. We do so through confidential virtual care and tele-counselling support, where we can discuss issues that arise and problem solve together using SNAP strategies. I have been able to refresh people’s memories about SNAP tools, which has helped in building a new routine that fits new, temporary lifestyles. While I continue to provide SNAP-specific support for Imani, mom has been able to access other resources to support her mental health difficulties more in depth.
Although a lot of great work has been done already, the process never stops in times like these. I am committed to helping this family, as well as other families that need it, by giving them the extra strength they need to push through these bizarre times with ease and a sense of control. Working together, counting on one another, and being patient is what will see us through to better days.
*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality.
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