CMHA Mental Health Week

Submitted on Thursday, 05/02/2024 - 11:33 am

When you think about people working to heal from trauma, do you picture someone sitting across from a therapist having a conversation? Or participating in a group session, sharing their feelings?

While therapy has always been a valuable avenue for healing, healing can also look like someone getting their hands dirty on a pottery wheel. Using clay and art therapy can promote mindfulness, and can help regulate emotions. Strumming a guitar, mixing a beat, or tilling soil, feeling the dirt in your palms, are other examples of avenues that can improve mental health and develop important life skills.

These creative outlets have incredible impacts.

At Hull Services, these experiences are what we call enhancement activities, and we offer them to our young people through various programs. They have immensely positive effects on how young people heal from developmental trauma. Much like transforming a ball of clay into a cup or bowl, pottery can transform the lives of the young people we support. Today, we would like to share with you how one of our enhancement activities, pottery, allows the young people at Hull to better manage their emotions and behaviours, expand their self-awareness, and develop life changing skills and practices

By donating today in support of Mental Health Week, you can give more young people at Hull the opportunity to experience these transformative enhancement activities.

Enhancing Regulation through ‘Clay’fullness

Pottery and other art services are sensory-rich therapeutic experiences that are highly regulating and offer a safe space for the young people to process the big emotions they face. Being regulated is essential to moving forward in their healing journey. In fact, these programs and services can be so good at regulating the young people that it amplifies the effect of their primary treatment. Once regulated, they can begin to learn important life skills like self-control and patience. Pottery takes time, effort and planning to take a piece from an idea to completion. Pottery is grounding. It makes your hands work in concert to get its desired effect.

Mud, Mind & Body Connection

As a full-time pottery artist, Sonja Redeker has been volunteering with Hull Services since 2020, bringing her passion towards education around pottery to the young people at Hull. Sonja has seen how it’s helped the young people at Hull and provided them with an outlet to explore and express their creativity. Sonja understands how pottery is regulating and therapeutic for the young people and how it connects the mind with the body.

“The young people here have really benefitted from the clay program because they come in at all different stages of their day and I find pottery to be incredibly regulating. It’s cool to see them come in, grab some clay and watch what they create. Pottery is a tactile experience that makes you present in your body. Pottery is also unpredictable and one of the things it’s taught the young people here is patience and being able to let things go – you’re able to see the confidence and pride they have in themselves when they see something through start to finish.” – Sonja Redeker.

Pottery offers the young people at Hull guidance and teaches them about creating routine. It also gives them a sense of purpose and outlet for their creativity, in a calming environment. Pottery and our other enhancement programs offer the chance to learn and develop critical skills our young people will be able to use long past their time with us.

Hull’s young people are counting on you this Mental Health Week to gift them the opportunities that make it possible to heal from trauma and live happy and healthy lives.

The next time you’re engaging in your favourite activity, know what you’re doing isn’t just simply that, it’s also having long-lasting, positive impacts on your life. You may not call it therapy, but it could be.

Meet Sonja

She is the pottery teacher volunteer in our Hull School’s pottery program. This Mental Health Week, she would like to share with you her experience pinching clay with the young people and just how valuable and therapeutic pottery is for mental health.
Ensure Sonja can keep doing her important work with the young people Hull supports by donating to our Mental Health Week campaign today!