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Walking Alongside Youth with Anxiety


Supporting you to walk alongside youth with anxiety

A warm welcome

We are so glad you have found your way to Walking Alongside Youth (WAY). This online course was created specifically to meet the unique needs and experiences of foster care providers and out-of-care care providers throughout British Columbia who are caring for youth with anxiety.

WAY was developed with careful consideration of the needs of Indigenous youth and families, who come from a rich diversity of traditional knowledges and practices that can guide culturally informed and safe responses to anxiety. This is a trauma– and evidence-informed course, intended to empower you with insight and practical, culturally safe ways of responding to youth with anxiety.

WAY is intended to create a sense of walking together in relationship, side by side, in a supportive and respectful way. The focus is on strengthening the relationship between you—as a caregiver or care provider—and the youth in your care, by bringing together and drawing from best practices on well-being from Indigenous and Western knowledge systems. WAY recognizes and focuses on relationship as a universal, cross-cultural necessity for all peoples and across all generations. Walking alongside one another in relationship provides the most natural opportunity for healing and growth to unfold.

As you engage with this course, we walk alongside you, supporting and encouraging you along the way. We hope you find the courage and strength you need to continue this important journey and to walk alongside the youth in your care.

About WAY

WAY was developed to:

Caregivers and young people photo
Young women in a group photo

How the course is structured

WAY is a collection of anxiety literacy resources in seven sessions:

1. Understanding Youth with Anxiety

2. Four Relational, Culturally Safe Approaches

3. Honouring Identity, Experiences and Family Traditions

4. Nourishing Youth with Anxiety through Relationship

5. Reducing Experiences That Fuel Anxiety

6. Restoring Conditions That Lead to Wellness, Resilience and Growth

7. Putting It All Into Practice

Each session is intended to build on the preceding session, guiding you in strengthening relationships, responding to youth in culturally safe and practical ways, and understanding that walking alongside the youth in your care is the first step to addressing their symptoms of anxiety. Each session includes:

Each session should take you about 20 minutes to complete. On completing all of the sessions, you will receive a certificate of completion to use as proof of learning. You will also be able to download a list of additional resources that you may find helpful, as well as a reference list for the sources mentioned in the course.

How the course was developed

The Ministry of Children and Family Development’s Aboriginal Policy and Practice Framework (2013) outlines a respectful and collaborative process, referred to as “Gathering the Circle,” which has guided the development of all aspects of WAY. Gathering the Circle ensures that the foundations and values of Indigenous Peoples are considered and kept at the centre by:

Recognizing the historical and ongoing impacts of colonization and intergenerational trauma on Indigenous families and communities, and the immediate need for culturally distinct approaches, WAY was developed collaboratively with Indigenous Peoples and communities throughout British Columbia. We have Gathered the Circle by forming a community-based advisory group made up of parents, caregivers, practitioners and youth.

How to get the most out of the course

We invite you to keep the relationship with the youth in your care at the forefront of both your mind and your heart while completing WAY. 

Taking time between sessions to sit with, reflect, absorb and understand the teachings in each session is highly recommended. Time for reflection will help deepen your understanding and increase your sense of confidence in applying what you have learned in meaningful and mindful ways. Building on the previous sessions, each session is intended to provide practical insights that will develop your capacity for walking alongside youth with anxiety.

How to proceed through WAY

How to Proceed diagram

Setting an intention

Take a moment to reflect on what it is you want most for the youth in your care. If there is one thing you could provide to them in your relationship, what would that be? Good health, peace of mind, love, care, trust, safety? What is your most important wish for the youth you are caring for? Once you have a clear sense of what that is, write it down in the space below.

Write your answers to the questions on the fillable/downloadable activity and save:

Setting Intentions activity

Intentions are powerful. When we set them, they tend to guide our actions and responses. During times of stress, intentions can bring us back to and remind us of what is most important. Intentions help chart a course for where we want to go. Without them, we can easily lose our way.

Goal setting and writing down intentions decreases stress and increases feelings of well-being. We are more likely to achieve our goals when we write them down.

"It's your path but you don't have to walk it alone."