'We have to learn to take care of ourselves'
PORT MARIA, St Mary:
Last week during a parenting workshop hosted by the St Mary Health Department's Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), one facilitator introduced her programme with a pertinent question: "While most people know how to take a selfie, how many of us really know how to take care of ourselves?"
For the next 30 minutes, clinical social worker Beverly Williams delivered an insightful self-care tutorial exploring the relationship between a child's development and their parent's ability to manage stress.
After the workshop, which took place at Annotto Bay Hospital, Williams explained that her programme was part of a wider initiative to help parents in the parish improve their childcare skills. She told Rural Xpress: "In our CAMHS clinics, we focus on behavioural and psychological problems, and what we've realised is that most of the problems the children face are a result of their parents.
"There is a need for parents to be more aware of their children's developmental issues and how the things they do can affect how their children view themselves; however, treatment cannot be effective unless parents buy into the service.
"We're trying to get them to understand that they cannot solve these problems on their own, so our team put this programme together to give parents some hope and let them know there is help out there.
"November is parenting month, and the national theme is Becoming an exceptional parent, stay connected, so today is about giving parents information about the causes of their children's behaviour and focusing on what they can do to make themselves feel good."
Williams, who is from Port Maria, believes that in most cases, parents who can manage and lower stress levels are often better equipped to deal with their children's issues.
She said: "Stress is something that sucks the life and energy from you, so you become empty, like a cup. The cup is refillable, but if it's empty, nothing will come out. You have to make sure you have a process to help refill, and that's why it's important for parents to know that in order to give something, you must have something first. It's like going to a bank machine that's run out of cash. Even though you've got money in your account, you still can't get any.
"Today was just to teach parents about refilling and renewing themselves. I looked at self-care and highlighted how stress should be acknowledged, because the first step to solving any problem is identifying that problem.
"I want them to understand that if your children are giving trouble or experiencing psychological problems and you're feeling stressed, there is a solution. Irrespective of the problem, you are not alone because there are services out there you can tap into that are willing to help."