Helping Children Cope with Trauma

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Guest of Honour, Dr Janil Puthucheary, Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information and Ministry of Education (centre) with Prof Kenneth Kwek, CEO KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Adj Prof Richard Magnus, Chairman, Temasek Cares, Mr Lim Boon Heng, Chairman and Temasek Holdings and Adj Assoc Prof Ng Kee Chong, Chairman of the Division of Medicine, and Head and Senior Consultant of Emergency Medicine, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, at the launch of Temasek Cares’ Trauma Network for Children on July 5, 2015.

When children and adolescents experience a traumatic event, it can impact various stages of their development. Because of their young age and lack of life experience, children often do not possess the appropriate coping skills needed to deal with trauma in a healthy way. For this reason, on July 5, 2016, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), together with Temasek Cares, launched Singapore’s first network to support children affected by trauma.

At the event, Dr Janil Puthucheary, Singapore’s Minister of State for Education, Communications and Information presented certificates to the first batch of therapists who completed training in TF-CBT (Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). The Stay Prepared–Trauma Network for Children aims to bring psychosocial trauma support and care into the core of Singapore’s community and is part of the larger Temasek Cares KITS programme, which was first launched in April 2014.

The network aims to train 680 counsellors, therapists, social workers and community leaders in trauma-informed care. The programme is expected to directly benefit 3,040 children and their caregivers over a three and a half year period.

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About the Stay Prepared – Trauma Network for Children
The programme aims to meet five key objectives:
• Develop and validate a culture-sensitive model to provide a layer of community-based post-trauma care and support to children and their families in Singapore.
• Broaden the reach and extend locally adapted Trauma-Focused Cognitive- Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT) training to an even larger pool of school counsellors and community-based psychologists and social workers.
• Develop and validate a model to train schools and community in trauma first-aid and recovery skills.
• Establish a learning network for trauma-informed individuals in Singapore, e.g. school counsellors, community- based psychologists and social workers, as well as community leaders, to promote knowledge transfer and sharing of resources related to the management of childhood trauma.
• Focus on educating the wider population to better understand trauma, its impact, and how and when to seek trauma related support or treatment for a child.

Hear what one participant had to say about the programme
Ms Low See Yim, Principal Social Worker, Montfort Care, said, “Since joining the Temasek Cares KITS programme two years ago, I have learnt to use TF-CBT to help children and adolescents in the community. As these children have undergone traumatic situations, I was able to effectively apply the therapy method to assess their trauma symptoms and provide the much needed intervention. On a personal level, not only has the skill acquisition added to my repertoire of therapy skills, it has also equipped me to conduct community outreach activities to share my knowledge of trauma and its effects on children and adolescents with the general public.”


Did you know…

According to KKH, among the trauma cases seen by counsellors and therapists under the Temasek Cares KITS programme, 25% involved children who witnessed domestic violence, 26% were children who suffered harsh physical punishment or abuse (in some cases sexual abuse), and 17% had other distressing issues.

For more updates from Temasek Cares follow their facebook page here.