THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Unicef has initiated a psychosocial counselling among women and children across the state in the aftermath of the deluge. Unicef Country Head Dr Yasmin Ali Haque was in Kerala for a couple of days to work out the modalities of the programme. Job Zakariah, the agency’s Tamil Nadu and Kerala head, is now heading the project.Unicef is giving support to five programmes for developing the mental health of the children in flood-affected areas.
These five programmes are being conducted by Childline, NGO MYRTEL, Bengaluru-based National Institute of Mental Health along with State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), magician Gopinath Muthukad with his magic shows, and Unicef’s partnership with the state police for HOPE.
Childline has 17 NGOs working with them, and is active in eight districts. “We have been partnering with Unicef since August 23 to provide awareness on health and hygiene, and teach children on hygiene. Generally, after disasters across the globe, children are prone to being abused, exploited, or trafficked. We are giving these children counselling on these aspects,” said a Childline official.
Childline is conducting feedback programmes since September 15 to get a feedback from children. Any issues can be reported to Childline Advisory Board, which has the District Collector as the chairman. Childline has constituted child protection committees in 10 panchayats, and will add more.“Myself and our team have met children and talked to them on an individual basis. We have found that they are very much scared and we are infusing powerful messages into their subconscious minds,” said Muthukad.
Psychosocial support refers to programmes that assist children, families, and communities to cope with crises and to reinforce or regain healthy psychological behaviours. Globally, Unicef has packages focused on children, families, and communities.The UN agency has already conducted state-level and district-level training for resource persons.As many as 30 lakh children will be given counselling.