Foundation helping young people to meet challenges

The Substance Abuse Foundation serves at-risk youth ages 10-17 through an intervention program.

The foundation’s director of clinical services, Allison Gotip, said Barbados TODAY that the teen stepping in will help young people struggling to cope with significant emotional, physical and mental health challenges that arise in the transitional period of adolescence, a pivotal phase of life development.

“The adolescent intervention is for young people who may be struggling – maybe the way they fit in at school, aren’t really going to school, or young people who may just have a red flag. It can come from the parents, it can come from the justice system, it can come from the probation service.

“They may be dealing with emotional regulation, how to express their emotions in a healthy way. I think that’s how young people see themselves. With social media being a blessing and a curse, there are always comparisons.

“We’ve found people who self-harm more, largely because they feel like they don’t have someone who’s actually going to take the time to not just talk to them, but also listen to them.” , Gotip said.

She further explained that the program was influenced by consideration of the environmental impact on vulnerable adolescents related to the current COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to increased poverty, loss of education and greater gender vulnerability, including higher levels of gender-based violence within the family. setting.

She said research has also shown that resuming in-person classes has revealed a recognizable increase in stress, anxiety, depression and negative social behaviors, impacting the mental and emotional health of young people.

Nationally, there is an increased need for counseling and a range of non-punitive therapeutic interventions, Gotip said.

“I remember the Prime Minister recently saying that she wanted to have a blank check and that she would like a residential place for young people, not necessarily people who are in the justice system, but people who have problems behavioral or emotional. And as an organization, we buy into that,” she said.

The clinical director said that over the years, the 20-year-old foundation which also runs Verdun and Marina Wellness Clinic, has conducted research which shows that most adult clients were exposed to traumatic experiences at a young age and this led to their addiction disease.

She also revealed that the foundation recently hosted Marina House in New Castle St John, trusting me, a gender-specific program for youth and adolescents that is part of the Adolescent Intervention Program. Several girls participated in the workshop aimed at improving their psychosocial functioning through self-confidence and self-esteem exercises.

A similar workshop will be organized for boys in the coming weeks.

Gotip said the foundation has approached businesses in Barbados seeking financial assistance to fund the teen intervention program which will engage participants in therapeutic sessions conducted by a team of experienced and qualified therapists.[email protected]

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