How to identify when someone needs help – psychosocial support

The role of education, in addition to its core mandate to ensure a South Africa in which all our child will have access to lifelong learning, education and training opportunities, is already expanded to include the delivery of non-core services, such as nutrition, safety and protection, socialization and psychosocial support.

School lockdown causes  a major disruption not only to learning, but also to other  support that learners receive at school. For most learners, the school acts as a protective shield, and at the most basic level, serves as a safe place to be during the day[LM1] .

It critical to acknowledge the gap in the extended safety that schools provide to learners during the lockdown. The lack of this has inevitably caused trauma and distress to the way we live our lives.

Parents and communities need to able to identify when their children need psychosocial support due to the distress bought by Covid-19. Healthy communication strategies and coping mechanisms are essential skills that parents can learn to support learners who anxious and fearful of the situation.

Parents are encouraged to maintain and instill a positive attitude around the household… Strategies such as finding new routines will help keep to normality during the ‘new normal’.  Children have hobbies and extra-mural activities which they enjoy, making time for such activities is an ideal way keep a positive mood in the household.

For children who may suddenly withdraw and isolate themselves from friends and family, parents should keep communication open and honest with their children, listen to them and validate their emotions by reminding them that it is normal to feel sad. Parents should also ensure that their children are able to communicate and stay in touch with friends through age appropriate methods such as telephone calls, video calls, and text-based applications.

© 2019 National Education Collaboration Trust