We are seeing an impact of trauma and are concerned about the children - Sadag
Apart from our country's high crime and violence rates, South African children have witnessed the trauma and loss of the COVID-19 pandemic, the consequences of their parents' unemployment, the fallout of the recent looting and insurgency, and uncertainty about their schooling future, according to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag).
Sadag operations manager Cassey Chambers explained that they have been receiving concerning reports from parents and teachers who are increasingly becoming concerned about the mental well-being of children in the country.
We are seeing an impact and are concerned because many parents and teachers have reached out to Sadag. We have been going to schools and engaging with teenagers and children, and they are really sharing a lot of their personal distress and ways of coping, and because many of them feel they can't talk to anyone or don't know what to say or cope, we end up seeing a lot of worrying cases.Cassey Chambers, operations manager - South African Depression and Anxiety Group
It's about having an open conversation where you check in on how they're doing, coping, and feeling instead of asking 'are you okay?' and moving on.Cassey Chambers, operations manager - South African Depression and Anxiety Group
We must encourage parents to ask open-ended questions.Cassey Chambers, operations manager - South African Depression and Anxiety Group
I think it's important for parents to know the warning signs and what to look out for, especially when it comes to connecting with your child and having a conversation, and if you start to notice an impact on their daily functions, issues at school, and physical behavior changes, then it's time to speak to their school, Sadag, or someone for help.Cassey Chambers, operations manager - South African Depression and Anxiety Group
You should also encourage them that if they are not comfortable opening up and talking to you about their problem, that they are at least speaking to someone, connecting them to health care and support is also really important for parents to do because it is a lot of pressure to have to help teenagers navigate through this.Cassey Chambers, operations manager - South African Depression and Anxiety Group
Listen to the full interview below...
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