Collaborative Social Work research graphically captures parents’ struggles
As all parents know, raising children and adolescents can be challenging. However, for parents of children with mental health issues, being a parent brings a whole different set of challenges, which can often leave parents asking, “Am I enough?”
This is the title of a new PhotoVoice research collaboration between the University of Calgary Faculty of Social Work researcher Dr. Dorothy Badry, PhD, and CASA Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health (CASA). The research explores the experiences of parents and brings awareness to the issues facing families trying to cope with children struggling with mental health issues — issues which have intensified with the loss of services and isolation measures to deal with Covid-19.
“PhotoVoice is an artwork project,” says Candace Fehr, one of the project leaders and a co-chair of the CASA Family Advisory Council (FAC.) “The photos come from our FAC members. We use art — whether it’s photos of people or inanimate objects — and we pair the photos with a narrative describing what it’s like to be a caregiver of a child, or youth who is in mental health systemic care.
“Our hope is the project will be seen by service providers and by government officials, and that it will be a means to create mental health systemic change.”
Virtual gala May 29 features address by Deena Hinshaw
The Photovoice project was supposed to be unveiled as a physical art-walk during CASA’s spring gala. It’s been replaced by a virtual gala and display which will be held online this Friday, May 29, at 7:30 p.m. The gala is free to everyone — participants are asked to pre-register to attend.
Canadian tenor Adam Fisher hosts the event that features appearances by figure skater Jamie Sale, the Victoria School Choir and an address by Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health. Hinshaw will address the stress being felt by children and their families with COVID-19, and the impact on their mental health.
“We started this project before COVID-19 hit,” says Badry, “and we’re seeing in some of the images that the question “Am I enough?” has taken on a whole new meaning as parents now have their children home full-time and are coping with new circumstances that have been challenging and difficult.
“I think to have a project of this nature start up at a time when children, youth and families have all their supports in place has taken on a whole new depth of meaning since many of those supports have changed, school is not available and many supports are only available online.”
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