UNICEF publishes Manual on Psychological Support for Children during Covid-19

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MANILA—Soledad Herrero, Chief, Child Protection Section of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) India shared their Manual on Psychological Support for Children during Covid-19 to local partners, nongovernment organizations, children’s groups and stakeholders in the Philippines.

In the foreword of the manual, which is intended for parents and caregivers, Herrero said “the purpose of this manual is to provide parents, caregivers, support persons and children and adolescents themselves, a tool that will enable them to understand what is Covid-19 and how it can be prevented, help them manage related stress, fear and anxiety, and recognize the increased risk of violence, which can help them to stay safe.”  

Mark Timbang, advocacy officer and coordinator for the Mindanao Action Group for Children’s Rights (MAGCRP) who shared the manual to child rights nongovernment organizations and partners in Mindanao said the manual will help parents and adult companions of children who are holed in their respective homes because of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), prevent situations that may trigger abuse and violence to children, or if not, the danger of contamination of the disease during this period.  

“Like us adults, children may react differently during this time of crisis.  They may show signs of boredom, anxiety, stress, misdemeanor and anti-social behaviors, which may lead to violence and further stress if not managed properly,” Timbang said.

The 81-page manual will help parents and caregivers understand the implications of the pandemic on the mental health and psychological wellbeing of children, including the risk of violence and abuse, among others.  It contains simple methods to manage anxiety and stress among children. These are recreational and relaxing. The activities described in the manual can be used with two age groups of children, the younger (6-10 years old), and adolescents (11-19 years old).

It also contains informative and exciting topics like:  understanding emotional needs of children, understanding emotional needs of most vulnerable children, helping children deal with stressful and painful events, recognizing signs of psychological distress needing specialized help, talking to children about Covid-19, talking to children about rumors related to Covid-19, handling heightened risks and violence, abuse and exploitation, toolkits for Age Groups 6-10 and 11-19; and finally, counseling activities and worksheets for children and adolescents.

Herrero further said the tool has been developed in support to CHILDLINE, which is at the forefront of the provision of relief and emotional and psychological support to children in distress in India. However, it can also available for all frontline workers and nongovernment organization partners, parents, caregivers and children themselves wherever in the world.
The final version of the PSS_COVID19 Manual_Childline UNICEF_Final.pdf can be accessed through www.unicef.org and Protsahan India Foundation, and CHILDLINE India Foundation.