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Sensory room aims to help youth dealing with mental health issues, addictions

A new room in Grande Prairie may make those going through a tough time feel more comfortable. Children and youth attending Alberta Health Service’s addiction and mental health program or the Youth Day Program can now spend time in the new sensory room. Youth Day Program Clinical Supervisor Christie Spronk says it was designed to give people a place to go and relax.

“The idea is that it engages the different senses; smell, touch, sight and sound. We have a sound machine, a projector, a diffuser, weighted objects and fidgets. It’s kind of that happy place where you can come and chill out.”

The sensory room was built with the help of the Grande Prairie Hospital Foundation on behalf of Grande Prairie’s 100+ Women Who Care. They raised more than $10,700 in funds for the room in May. It was built and designed during the summer and fall of 2018 and features large pillows, fuzzy rugs, a swing chair, weighted blanket, fidget toys and a mini trampoline.

The Youth Day Program is a voluntary, eight-week outpatient program for those in grades seven to 12 who are experiencing problems due to substance abuse or mental health issues. Spronk says the room can also be used during individual and family therapy sessions.

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“When you’re talking about something that can be quite triggering or upsetting it’s better to be in a room like this as opposed to an office. It’s been a really good addition not just for our team but for all our therapists and counsellors who use the space.”

The room is located on the sixth floor of Nordic Court on 99 Street.

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