No longer are threats to security and their impact on individuals a matter for the authorities alone – a holistic view is now essential. From grass roots to policy level, all of us must be involved, take responsibility, make informed decisions and undertake appropriate actions. This is particularly important if we are to succeed in redressing the potential negative impact of the psychosocial consequences of trauma in children and adolescents in countries in transition, emerging from conflict, or victim of terrorist incidents. There are many more young people who need appropriate help to come to terms with what they are suffering than there are mental health professionals. Many people could learn the skills to ensure that today’s young people realise their full potential as well-balanced adults, willing and able not only to commit themselves to social development and security for their own country but also to focus on respect and understanding to ensure international peace and security. This publication wants to establish long-term and sustainable strategies of practical activities which mothers, fathers, teachers – any concerned member of the community - can be trained to undertake in order to complement the work of mental-health professionals to prevent trauma and to deal with its consequences in children and adolescents as victims, witnesses and perpetrators of the violence of the new security threats. Preliminary work was undertaken to develop international guidelines for implementing effective measures to help young people regain their well-being and become future actors for respect, understanding and peace.
Slovakia is at the heart of the whirlpool of the communist past and a reunified Europe. I was delighted to welcome specialist particpants from so many different cultures and experiences to my country, both as a mother and as a doctor at the Child Psychiatry Hospital of Bratislava. This meeting identified ways of ensuring that a child would keep happy memories of childhood and would not allow traumatic experiences of war and terrorism to harm their adult life.
It was held symbolically in the Slovak Academy of Sciences Castle of Smolenice – just the place where, in a child's fairytale, the king and queen will live happily ever after in a perfect world when the forces of good have overcome the forces of evil… But can this ideal ever come true?
A life at peace is the basis for the success of every human endeavor. Unfortunately, this peace is threatened by wars, ideological extremism, the class struggle, political conflict, terrorism, rape, murder, injustice… in Slovakia and many countires, by the sudden economic changes of transition … and, everywhere in the world, man's unbridled desire for power over other men…
NATO was founded to maintain peace in Europe – and now beyond – at the same time as the Mouvement Mondial des Mères/World Movement of Mothers. The MMM helps mothers fulfil all their responsibilities, particularly building peace, in the family and outside the home. Thanks to these two organisations this meeting developed ways in which a child's fairytale future might come true…
Anna Kovacova, MuDr, NATO Partner Co-Director
Prevention of violence to children and the protection of their rights is the duty of every adult. But most adults do not know how to offer appropriate support. This meeting, which brought together for the first time scientists and lay people with practical experience, looked not only at practical measures to engage and train concerned adults and adolescents, but also at changing the attitudes which lead to the abuse of children. As a Belgian, trying to come to terms with the discovery of a paedophile network in the heart our society, I feel very strongly the need for coordinated local, national and international initiatives and guidelines to prevent and remedy trauma to children.
The areas of relevance to the participants and the program objectives: First, how humans - children and their families - cope with ongoing threats, as well as the impact of long term threats, repeated exposure to trauma, and warfare and its aftermath. Second, the importance of cultural considerations and sensitivities related to the expression of symptoms, evaluation and treatment. Third, questions about whether there is a post warfare and terrorism mental syndrome. Fourth, issues of preparation/readiness including community preparedness, training of responders, development of family and school plans, and consideration of developmental needs. Fifth, response at the time of terrorist attacks and warfare including immediate needs, expectable reactions successful coping and worrisome reactions. Sixth, recovery including reduction, persistence or worsening of symptoms, as well as development of new symptoms. Seventh, when and how to carry out mental health evaluations and treatment taking into account developmental considerations, cultural values and resources. Eighth, resilience including the important components of successful coping and resilience, how resilience differs from resistance, and long term implications of resilience. Ninth, the needs of responders including respectful training of indigenous practitioners, compassionate reactions, counter transference and burnout, concerns about safety, family safety and family worries, and management of stress and personal difficulties. Tenth, issues of hope, altruism, spirituality and personal meaning with individual's wishes to know where they are going - going forward to something - while knowing where they have been and integrating the traumas they have experienced.
Today's revolution - Impact of military activity on the fabric of social life leading to revolution - elements and causes of today's revolution: social changes; shift in strategic focus; new threats to security - Why this is a personal problem and why we must respond - Why we are focusing on the well-being and needs of children and adolescents
The purpose of this session was to identify positive responses to traumatised children and adolescents - Speakers from several countries dealt with the kinds of extreme experiences which can cause their trauma – What are their symptoms? - What is the impact on their community and on society as a whole?
In Israel, the official school system hardly deals with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the way to cope with it. - Over the years, grassroots organizations and NGOs have developed various philosophies and methodologies to cope with the violent war-like reality. The oldest organization in this field is The Jewish-Arab Center for Peace at Givat Haviva, located at the heart of Wadi 'Ara region. The area is characterized by its mosaic of population where Jews and Palestinians live side by side. - The Center integrates projects of instruction, education, research, and community involvement among diverse populations in Israel and Palestine. It helps design programs to different target groups and audiences. Its Department of Education runs programs for teachers, students, and trainers. Moreover, it develops creative techniques in an effort to highlight some key concepts: equality, tolerance, and acceptance of “the other.” Knowledge and information are essential, as well as creating a supportive environment for the children to talk and express their feelings.
Brutal practices in the armed forces of the Russian Federation – suspension of human rights; poor living and working conditions, including deprivation of food and warmth; beatings; humiliations; torture; abuse – cause mental health damage to military personnel. Those most profoundly affected are the young conscripts, often straight from school who suffer this inhuman treatment for 2 years and then are released back into society with no vocational training, their sense of right and wrong destroyed and often suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The authorities offer them no help to recover and settle into civilian life. In their desperation and traumatised state, they too often turn to criminality, drug abuse, even suicide. The Union of the Committees of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia is the only organisation seeking practical ways to make the authorities acknowledge this situation, demanding military reform and the abolition of enforced conscription. However, those in power, too, have been through the military system and themselves show symptoms of the same mental damage. Justice for those who have suffered this mistreatment is a powerful tool in helping conscripts recover and their parents cope with their son's aberrant behaviour.
Terrorism in Algeria aims principally at the destruction of the individual. In effect, however, the atrocities that are being committed target the entire community, because through the individual, the whole population lives in terror. This climate of terror is exacerbated by the fact that the assassinations and massacres are collective. Thus we are seeing the destruction of community ties, because of the assassinations, the destruction of homes, and the destruction of schools – places that symbolically represent a community. Their destruction means the destruction of the reference points that allow an individual to situate himself or herself in society.
Why children are recruited as soldiers; Reasons why children may become voluntary recruits; Who does the recruitment; Children who are vulnerable to recruitment; What can prevent under-age recruitment; Key points for rehabilitation and reintegration of former child soldiers; A Framework for planning; The three stages of community involvement: Sensitisation - Articulation and Reflection -Mobilisation of Resources; Initial steps for planning social reintegration of a former child soldier; Identifying factors which influence social re-integration - Implementing programmes of rehabilitation within a therapeutic or medical framework - Issues affecting re-integration of child soldiers
William Yule, Howard J. Osofsky, Igor Skodacek, Armine Gmur Karapetian, Latéfa Belarouci, I. Leth
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Identifying and analysing the mental health indicators of trauma - including emotional, relationship, behavioural, somatic and cognitive components - Different approaches towards the professional treatment of trauma in children and adolescents
The aim of this session was to identify potential resources – people, places, infrastructures, agencies - by examining practical activities in the family and in the community to mitigate and deal with trauma in children and adolescents. Introduction – Trauma in Young children - Working with the police and judiciary – Building resilience in the family -
Part I.3.I. The role of non-mental-health professionals – the professional viewpoint
Children are traumatized by community and domestic violence exposure as victims and witnesses. Information on the effects of violence exposure on children will be presented including developmental implications, resultant behaviors, and the most extreme reaction, posttraumatic stress disorder. Parental and caregiver traumatization will also be discussed. Prevention and early intervention is very important both to reduce exposure to violence and to reach children shortly after exposure. Therefore, the role of the mental health professional as an interventionist with first responders such as law enforcement will be discussed as a way to reach traumatized children earlier. A model for mental health professionals to develop collaborations with judges and lawyers who work in juvenile court will be presented. The conclusion will describe ways to provide education and relevant information to police and the court on how to help traumatized children.
Part I.3.II. The role of non-mental-health professionals – the non-mental-health professional viewpoint. 1
Delinquent behaviour by young people is a long-standing subject of public and governmental concern. Although 'delinquency' is hard to define, widespread understanding of its core characteristics, main causes, and effects exists. The concept of 'social exclusion' is new and is not widely understood, but the problems it refers to are extensive. This paper provides an overview of both delinquency and social exclusion, and discusses how they relate to one another. The paper focuses on neighbourhoods in order to explain how delinquency can both follow from and add to social exclusion at the local level. Drawing on the author's research in Britain and America, the paper details how attending to the local links between delinquency and social exclusion can be central to addressing both problems.
Brief definition of the elements that are specific for the Post-Conflict Trauma of Serbian children and adolescents who are 12-15 years old. Serbian children were exposed to chronic, long term flooding with uncertainty and anxiety caused by both external events and through their parents who were going through life, health, and financially threatening experiences. As a consequence of a long lasting crisis, the parents, as well as the other institutions of society, failed to provide enough containment and support for children and adolescents in this very vulnerable developmental period.
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