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Mental well-being is critical in these difficult and isolating times. Supported by the Vancouver Island Counselling Centre for Immigrants and Refugees and moderator Moussa Magassa, the Here community and our partners came together for our first Here Sessions Online: Community Mental Health Check-in. The Zoom screen was a beautiful mosaic of capacity and compassion as we shared current challenges for ourselves and our communities as well as strategies and positive practices for getting through the long days. From struggling to support already marginalized communities such as the LGBTQ2S+ community, to worrying about family members who are healthcare workers, to being under financial strain so intense it affects family relationships, our group touched on the issues affecting us all in this crisis. Creative and resilient practices shared include: garden and grow food (even just by putting a piece of potato in a pot!); dress up at home—don’t spend the whole day in your pajamas; create new routines to help you regain your sense of control; give yourself permission to slow down; and reach out to others. Counsellors Adrienne and Ana reminded us to be “mindful of the kind of narrative we are using with ourselves and the kind of narrative we are repeating to others” and importantly: to be playful.

“There is no shame in being playful during these times. Laughing has healing power.”   —Ana Pavon

*We did not make this session live in order to build a safe space for the participants to share their needs and experiences, but we recorded, with the participant’s permission, the VICCIR introduction to the topic and some thoughts on good actions during this period. 

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