Coping tools

Tough times affect everyone. It’s how people react to the things they can’t control that determines how well they come through tough times, says Dawne Adkins, who counsels people facing economic issues.

Tough times affect everyone. It’s how people react to the things they can’t control that determines how well they come through tough times, says Dawne Adkins, who counsels people facing economic issues.

On Thursday afternoon, Adkins joined a wide range of people and agencies to host an information fair, Tools to Survive the Economic Crisis.

Organized by the Canadian Mental Health Association to recognize mental health week, the event drew together agencies that offer coping tools and information in six different areas: fun, food, work, housing, debt and help.

In a presentation to people attending the fair, Adkins said her own family has had to make some adjustments in the five weeks since her husband was laid off from his job.

Sure, you curse, said Adkins, director of Community and Client Services for Community Capital, a non-profit agency that offers financial advice and small business loans for people who need a hand up.

It’s what you do afterward that matters, she said, citing a video presentation by American consultant Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

“You continue to stress for the rest of the day, the rest of the week and guess what? Lo and behold, you end up sick. So you’re continually spinning out of control . . . .”

It’s much more productive to take charge, weigh your options and start findings ways to deal with the cards you’ve been dealt, said Adkins.

Marriage and family therapist Jacqueline Kuefler, working the “help” desk on behalf of Catholic Social Services, said she has seen a sharp rise in family distress because of the pressure people are now facing.

Part of her job involves dealing with families who are trying to come to grips with a suicide, which Kuefler said is also happening more often.

Having the various agencies set up for the information fair went beyond exposing their services to people seeking help, said Kuefler.

It was also a way of introducing various professionals to each other and helping them learn about the network of help that is available for people.

Charlie Turnbull, co-ordinator of the R-Own Food Co-op — an ongoing project of the Central Alberta Women’s Outreach — said the Tools to Survive event was a great way of introducing his service to people who would like to take advantage of its bulk-buying program, which provides significant savings to people who take part.

Street person Richard McCartney, who describes himself as a “freelance outreach worker,” said he overheard other people attending the event talking about the information they had picked up at the event.

“They can pick up pamphlets and information on how to be more wise with their money, financially responsible.

“One of the things we don’t do very much of any more is the sharing of knowledge, and that is one of our greatest gifts, is to be able to share knowledge with each other and exchange that in a group atmosphere,” said McCartney.

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