A Mindful Approach to Recovery
Sophie Leclair-Roberge, one of our Community Developers at Salus, is continuously coming up with new ways to provide group recovery programs to her clients. She discovered Jesse Maione through another local non-profit organization. Jesse is a trauma-informed yoga instructor, trained to teach vulnerable populations, and dedicated to creating inclusivity and accessibility in the yoga and mindfulness industry.
For the past eight weeks, Jesse has been teaching mindfulness once a week to clients at one of our Salus buildings and the feedback has been incredible. “My goal with the mindfulness sessions is to have our clients feel healthier – both physically and mentally,” says Sophie. “I wanted to offer this to our clients, so that they could learn concrete tools and coping strategies for when they’re feeling anxious and depressed.”
Jesse comes to each session with a theme as well as a check-in question to ground everyone. The questions are as simple as asking the class what colour their mood would be if it was a colour – and then a check-out question at the end of the class to ask them if their colour has changed. She brings various techniques to the sessions such as visualization, grounding, body scanning, breath work, meditation, chair yoga and practicing gratitude.
One Salus client, Eric, spoke about how Jesse and her mindfulness sessions have had a tremendous impact on his own well-being. “Jesse treats everyone as valuable,” says Eric. “Mindfulness helps my mental health, it helps me focus, it’s entertaining, and it helps with socialization and resilience. And even after Jesse leaves, we still have the skills to be able to do the techniques ourselves at home.”
Jesse’s experience working in the non-profit sector has been her motivation to create more inclusive and accessible wellness practices – not just for people with a higher socio-economic status, but for everyone.
“I never really know what any individual person has gone through in their lives, but I will often have people come up to me after class and tell me about how they’re struggling with anxiety and depression,” says Jesse. “They’ll tell me how much they look forward to coming to my class each week, because it’s a chance for them to just be – no expectations, no right or wrong, it’s a space where they can feel safe in their body.”
Jesse explains how trauma often lives in the body and can lead to long-term physical and mental health problems. “One client told me that since coming to my class, when she goes to sleep now, her shoulders drop a little easier.”
Our Salus clients live with severe and persistent mental illness. To have this type of mindfulness training on a weekly basis is invaluable to help them cope, even through the simplest situations in life, such as feeling overwhelmed while grocery shopping.
“Thanks to Jesse and what she’s bringing weekly with her mindfulness sessions, my clients are calmer, they feel more connected to themselves and one another,” says Sophie. “As a Community Developer, one of my goals is to have my clients interact with each other positively, and with their neighbours and community.” Sophie works to help Salus clients reach self-actualization – explore who they are and what their purpose is, to help their community and reach their full potential in life.
Wellness programs such as mindfulness and yoga are essential for people who are on their journey of recovery.
Salus relies on donor support to go above and beyond for our clients in providing resources like Jesse’s sessions. We are so grateful to you for your support, for your compassion to our cause and for wanting to make a difference in our community.