Children’s Authority urges parents to monitor children’s emotional health

(Image: Children's Authority of Trinidad and Tobago)

The Children’s Authority is urging parents to monitor the emotional health of their children, following the alleged suicide death of a 14-year-old girl from Beetham, earlier this week.

In an official statement on the matter, the Authority points out that both parents and their children and family members may be under tremendous emotional pressure during the current COVID-19 crisis.

It is encouraging parents to reach out for psychological support and counselling during this time, to ensure they, their children and the entire family receive the help they need for any emotional distress they may be experiencing.

The full text of the release from the Children’s Authority, follows…

PARENTS ENCOURAGED TO MONITOR THEIR CHILDREN’S EMOTIONAL HEALTH  

The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago is saddened by the reported death of a 14-year-old girl who allegedly committed suicide. While an autopsy report is yet to confirm the cause of death, the Authority would like to guide parents and guardians on signs they can look out for, regarding changes in their children’s behaviour.

Children communicate using emotions and or behaviours, as such, the Authority is encouraging parents to be attuned to their child’s emotional state as well as their changing behaviours. Once you recognise a change in their mood, behaviour or if they appear to be in emotional or psychological distress, you should in the first instance speak to your child, also allow them the space to speak about how they feel. Additionally, and very importantly, seek professional help.

During this time of COVID-19 where children are away from school, their friends and social circle, parents and guardians are encouraged to engage in open communication with their children about how they are coping with the stay-at-home measures. The Authority also advises parents and guardians to work out a plan with their children about coping during these times. This will allow children to openly share their concerns and will assist parents in identifying if there is a need to seek professional support for their children.

Notwithstanding, however, parents and guardians might also be overwhelmed because of COVID-19 and the stay-at-home measures. This may lead to a myriad of other challenges which may cause parents not to recognise the signs and symptoms when a child might be in distress. The Authority is calling on parents and guardians to take a moment, seek help for family members and their social environment, and please call any one of the numbers below for further professional assistance.

–  Child Line – 800-4321

–  Lifeline (suicide) – 645-2800

–  Families in Action – 628-2333

–  National Family Services Division – 624-8218/627-1163

–  National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-SAVE

–  Student Support Services Division: 724-1010

The Children’s Authority stands ready to assist. You are not alone. “Child Protection Is Everybody’s Business” and if child abuse is suspected, the public should call the Authority at 996 or the Police at 999.