What a week! it was very emotionally draining. However, I am glad to report that the counselling team finished really strong.
How does a child and youth ask for help? Some are expressive through language (verbal, body, sign language or non verbal) or through writing. Some are not expressive, so what are your options now? Front Line workers have you tried engaging your young people in art? Do we miss this mode of self expression ?
The situation this week involved a young woman who is about 14 years old. Both her parents passed away in a span of a year.
Her response to this grief was her shutting down and running around the entire school causing “havoc.” Everyone knew about this young person’s tragic event and counselors and teachers were on their guard ensuring she was taken care of: our team was warned even weeks prior to her mom’s death.
She did not want to talk to anyone after her mother’s death. I heard from many of my co-workers that she is the hardest youth “to crack.” Finally, we found that one of my fellow co-workers had a trusting relationship which allowed her to express her emotions via drawing.
Sad yet fortunate at the same time that this young person’s drawing was a depiction of her true feelings.
SHE WAS ASKING FOR HELP! IT WAS LIKE THIS YOUNG PERSON WAS YELLING RIGHT NEXT TO ME
LISTEN TO ME, PLEASE!!
Through seeing her drawings- in a span of less than 24 hours, we were able to contact our community partner, take her to the nursing station, and get her flown out to another village with much more resources.
I understand the difficulty in talking to someone when one is facing grief and trauma, but that might be the issue, we expect the young person to talk.
Instead, how about we try to emphasize teaching children and youth the power of communicating in different modes?