SRD Straightening Reins Introduces Family Friendly Ranch Time
As the months continue with the uncertainty of the COVID-19 epidemic, we realize that adults, the elderly and children are all being affected emotionally by the changes in their environment. Information is controversial which enhances the indecision for the future. Although the Coronavirus seems milder in the younger generation, children who have a predisposition toward anxiety and depression are expressing fears which are enhancing these symptoms.
Based on the multitudes of calls that SRD Straightening Reins received from frantic parents at the beginning of the quarantine, SRD continued with their individual equine-assisted therapy sessions. SRD wanted to provide youth a place to feel peaceful and supported while remaining within CDC guidelines.
Parents of Saugus students recovering from the experience in November 2019, stated that the post-traumatic stress their children were already experiencing was enhanced by the chaos occurring in the media.
As new guidelines have been distributed to allow for more group interaction, SRD creatively began to enhance their group programs for those in need. A group of new clients are being scheduled weekly.
Unfortunately, visits with the herd to the school sites, which were to begin in spring, came to an abrupt stop. This service for students who were vocalizing their feelings while holding a pygmy goat or petting a mini horse was replaced by a quarantine at home order. Children receiving mental health support strictly through their school programs no longer had access.
Children’s fears keep rising about parents and grandparents becoming ill. The economic impact on some families where a parent has lost their job only adds to the stresses they experience. Children can internalize a parent’s anxiety even if not verbally expressed. Parents of children that already had behavioral issues report an increase in frustration due to virtual learning expectations.
To allow for families to visit the Ranch, the Family Friendly Ranch Time program was developed. Individual families visiting are able to take an hour away from the isolation in an atmosphere of serenity and gentleness.
The Ranch Crew program has slowly opened to allow teens exposure to the outdoors, the animals and a place to feel centered. Parents realize that their child is in a safe, supervised environment disconnected from technology while maintaining a healthy routine with the animals. Grounding is important to those participating so that they don’t regress to panic due to their current situation.
A comment from one parent was, “SRD allows my child to destress and get away from the daily pressures she’s experiencing.” A teen who visits the ranch four times a week mentioned, “SRD has made me a better person. The Ranch has taught me how to cope with my anxiety and depression. I would come more often if I could.”
Recommendations made by the CDC for parents during COVID-19 are to teach your child prevention methods, help your child stay healthy with exercise, help them stay socially connected, watch for stress and behavior changes such as excessive worry or sadness, sleeplessness, changes in eating habits or difficulty with their attention or concentration. If you begin witnessing changes in your child’s behavior, please reach out for assistance. There are several websites with resources. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-8255, https://bethedifferencescv.org, https://srdstraighteningreins.org, https://dmh.lacounty.gov. The SRD Straightening Reins Foundation is committed to helping your child maintain a healthy mental well-being.
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