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Koha counselling

Silena Martin is offering counselling services for a donation. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND

Emily Ireland

Masterton counsellor Silena Martin knows how debilitating anxiety can be.

And so, she is reaching out to Wairarapa whanau, offering her counselling services for a koha (donation).

“I realise it is quite expensive for families to get professional help for their kids,” she said.

“I don’t want money to be a barrier for children who need support.”

Silena, who once suffered from chronic anxiety learned how it operated through her studies in her adult life to become a counsellor.

She believes it is her training and her own personal experiences that have equipped her with the tools to enact real positive change in her community.

“I know the need is huge, there are long waiting lists, lots of families who can’t afford the urgent help they need, and I don’t know what this will look like, but I believe I will make a difference for those I can.”

Silena said she was prompted to put the call out in the community offering koha counselling after seeing the difference her help made in the lives of 30 or so young girls in Masterton Community Church’s Grow Girls programme catering to 8-12-year-olds.

“They do all these awesome topics like self-esteem and bullying – their hearts are incredible and I was so blown away about how much the girls knew about anxiety.

“I had some really good feedback from it and something was stirring inside me when I did that.

“Then the thought [of koha counselling] just came to my mind while I was sitting on my couch at home.

“I’m aware of all the children who are suffering and also parents not knowing what to do.

“As a parent myself, I would have loved some tools when I needed them.

“So I feel like this is my purpose – to give families the support and tools they need . . . giving children the tools to get through anxiety.”

Some symptoms of anxiety in children are overestimation of danger and negative thoughts, and physical symptoms such as headaches, sore stomachs, and vomiting, though Silena said the first port of call should always be the GP in case there are underlying physical issues causing these symptoms.

“If anxiety is occurring in your family, the most important thing is to normalise the feelings and try to remain calm around your children.

“Routine is the biggest thing.

“Keep the routine consistent and you will minimise anxiety in the home.”

Silena is offering her koha services to families, children, and youth, and will be visiting Wairarapa schools this week.

She can be contacted on [021] 947-705 or [email protected]

Silena also runs anxiety workshops for women, From Anxiety to Freedom.

This workshop will be held on June 29 from 9am to 3pm in Masterton.

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