Children Affected by Trauma in Conflict Areas and Need for School-based Psycho-social Intervention
Authors: Bilal Kaloo1*, Tanveera Ali2
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An established fact is that in any armed conflict the bulk of the sufferers include women and children world-wide. The experience and exposure of children to violent incidents hampers their well being. Trauma caused by such violent incidents becomes threatening if not addressed properly and on timely basis. The role of family, community and other stake holders to relieve traumatized children in strengthening their coping mechanism is imperative. Teachers including school personnel usually develop trusting relationships with children and parents .Teachers may allocate time to deal with traumatic experiences, model the children’s responses, reinforce emerging coping skills and help children to resume normal life. Committed and trained teachers may turn out to be excellent mediators to provide mental health relief to large groups of children affected by trauma. This literature review analyses the importance and effectiveness of teacher-mediated psychosocial preventive interventions among children traumatized in the context of armed conflicts (war, military violence, and terrorism). Each child reacts differently to the impact of armed conflict. Their response depends on their age, gender, personality type, personal and family history, cultural background and experience, as well as on the nature and duration of the event. Stress can reveal itself in a wide range of symptoms, including increased separation anxiety, developmental delays, sleep disturbances, nightmares, flashbacks, decreased appetite, withdrawn behavior, and a lack of interest in play. Younger children can have learning difficulties; older children and adolescents can show anxious or aggressive behavior and depression. Parents, teachers and community networks must be mobilized to provide the continuity, trust and stability children need for recovery. This paper explains how important is the teacher mediated intervention in reaching out to children affected by trauma in conflict situations. Methodologically: Apart from the related literature review, the paper contains inferences from authors experience while working as mental health counselor in Kashmir, India.