The Child & Family Clinic Run Group Therapy Program of the Credit Valley Hospital is a teen (14 to 19 years) “running” group therapy/research program designed to evaluate the impact of regular exercise (running) on self-concept, as well as symptoms of depression and anxiety. Participants keep a runners log. The group also has a parent-teen component where stress in their relationship is pre- and post- evaluated.
The “learn to run” group runs over a 12 week period with the teens running as a group twice a week concluding with a 5 or 10 km community run (Mississauga Marathon 5 & 10 K). Groups run twice a year in the fall and spring.
The group meetings (twice a week) also include professional/inspirational speakers who present on issues of exercise, diet and health. We meet Tuesday evenings 6 - 8pm (speaker and short run in the community) and Saturday mornings 8:30 am - 10 am (longer runs in the community and local parks).
Our program has partnered with Brooks Canada; they provide a 60% discount on all our shoes and clothing.
Peer leadership opportunities arise after a teen or parent has completed two groups; they can return as teen or parent mentors/coaches. Additional coaching staff come from the community, and most are full marathon runners who want to give back.
The group has grown from 9 teens when we first started in 2006 to 40 teens and parents presently. I have done numerous presentations in the community to schools and agencies (CAS, UofT student services, etc) wanting to develop their own run programs. There have been many successes with the group in terms of community and media attention. There is also great interest in developing further research in this area. Among the challenges, funding can sometimes be an effort and something that I need to monitor and seek out at times. There are many teens and parents who cannot afford the 60 % off shoes/clothing or a race registration fee. Program funding currently comes from private individual donations and small group donations.
Overall, the results are terrific - my goal is to get the word out so others can benefit!
Media articles include:
For more information, contact:
Dan McGann, MSW, RSW
Child & Family Clinic Social Worker
The Credit Valley Hospital
Phone Number: 905-813-2396
E-mail: danmcgann [at] cvh [dot] on [dot] ca