The association Anna et la mer, a non-profit organization based in the province of Quebec, Canada, works to promote the health and well-being of children having a parent or a loved one suffering from mental illness.
Following the publication in 2004 of the widely-acclaimed children's book Anna et la mer, aimed at helping children come to terms with the reality of having a mentally ill parent, the non-profit organization was founded as a social entity by the author, Rebecca Heinisch, in February 2006.
Since the publication of the book, the author and founder of the organization has maintained a singular focus on the needs of these children and their families. Rebecca has traveled extensively, offering training sessions and hands-on workshops to better equip those in the field called to work with the children. She has also lectured to many groups of college graduate students majoring in special education and social work.
In December 2007, the Board of Directors for Anna et la mer published an effective program (Les Ateliers Anna) including innovative resource materials which has begun to be used by health and education practitioners across Quebec to promote resiliency in young, school-age children living with a parent affected by mental illness.
Through this program, children learn to better verbalize their concerns, understand their reality and put strategies into place that help them deal with their situations.
The organization is quickly gaining visibility in Quebec among the social services community. It is an active member of 'La Table multisectorielle enfance-jeunesse-famille', a network of organizations that promote the well-being of children and their families. Recently, Anna et la mer has been honored with the prestigious 2007 Impact Award from the Alcoa foundation. Their generosity allowed for the publication of Les Ateliers Anna (french version) and their continued support will sponsor the publication of the english version Anna's Workshops in February 2009.