Psychological First Aid for Children

Five Rivers supports World Mental Health Day’s call for increased understanding and improved responses to effectively support children and young people to recover from the psychological impact of traumatic adverse childhood experiences.

These are typical adverse childhood events:

  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Mother treated violently
  • Household substance abuse
  • Mental illness in household
  • Parental separation or divorce
  • Criminal household member
  • Emotional neglect
  • Physical neglect

Research has shown that these experiences during childhood have far-reaching consequences: trauma can put a person at an elevated risk for a wide range of physical and mental health problems across their lifespan.

The number of children under the age of 18 who have experienced trauma and whose long-term health is consequently at risk is staggering: about two-thirds of young people have experienced at least one major traumatic event in their lives and one-third have experienced two or more, according to a major 2007 study*.

The idea that adversity increases the risk of disease later in life is generally acknowledged in the medical community. Now health professionals and researchers are working to understand the psychological and biological connections between adverse events and trauma on health – and what to do to interrupt those effects.

Five Rivers is at the forefront of this groundbreaking work through utilising a range of evidence-based approaches to respond to the impact of toxic stress and trauma by providing interventions such as Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR).

We are also committed to providing an assessment of mental health difficulties for every child who enters our care to ensure difficulties are quickly identified and the most appropriate treatments and supports provided. Through such interventions we are reversing negative impacts and transforming children’s lives.

*For further information  please see Center for Disease Control-Kaiser Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (US Dept of Health 2007) The CDC-Kaiser Permanent Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study is one of the largest investigations of childhood abuse and neglect and later-life health and well-being.

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