• Fri. Aug 5th, 2022

Directions for Offering a Virtual Parenting Support Group | New

Directions in Independent Living is planning an online peer-to-peer support group for parents to be held the third Wednesday of each month starting in November.

Directions, which provides mental and behavioral health services to hundreds of youth and adults, realized that an interactive forum was needed to help parents cope with the pressure of the pandemic and other factors on them, their children and their families.

Christine Hoff, Youth and Education Advocate at Directions and Family Advocate, will host the open forum that promotes sharing and communication between parents.

“The parenting support group will provide relief to parents and be a place where they are supported as the heroes that they are,” she said.

Hoff said parents are under tremendous pressure, especially from COVID-19, and that pressure is pulling on the fabric of the family. She said it is a huge challenge to raise children during the pandemic and in the face of so many current issues.

“We are here to defend parents as much as children,” she added.

The Cattaraugus Youth Office reported that there were up to 1,300 youth at risk in Cattaraugus County. Kate DeGroff, director of the Youth Bureau, said that figure is about half of a more realistic estimate due to insufficient reporting related to COVID-19.

“We have found that the root cause of many of the problems that children experience is a combination of systemic factors that parents may need help to tackle,” Hoff said.

“And, because Directions supports children by supporting the whole family, we decided to offer this peer support group to give parents a place to connect with other parents to gain support and a better understanding of problems that they – and all of us – face, ”she continued.

The parent support group is not therapy but may be able to offer referrals to professional mental health services in the community upon request.

The first group meets at noon on November 17th. For an online link or more information, contact Hoff at [email protected] or (585) 307-3004.