Addressing Mental Health Needs of Orphaned Children

May 20, 2021

Why Children Need Help Overcoming Trauma

At A Child’s Hope Foundation, the majority, if not all, of the children we work with have dealt with some kind of childhood trauma, whether that be neglect, abandonment, family death, or abuse in its various forms. Such trauma often follows children into adulthood and throughout their lives, damaging both their mental and physical health.

Pediatrician Dr. Nadine Harris, the Surgeon General of California, said that childhood trauma causes “triple the lifetime risk of heart disease and lung cancer, and a 20-year difference in life expectancy.” During their elementary and teen years, children who have experienced trauma are four-and-a-half times more likely to struggle with depression and twelve times more likely to deal with suicidality. (Source)

Fortunately, childhood trauma can be processed and healed through good counseling. With help from our supporters and partners, A Child’s Hope has put a plan into action that is helping the children at our partner orphanages.

The Plan to Help

A Child’s Hope has partnered with Espere Counseling Services, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide counseling and therapy services to underprivileged communities in Haiti and Mexico. Erika Charles, Espere’s Executive Director, says,

“Providing children in orphanages access to mental health support is a critical piece of their overall care. Whether it's through play, art, talking, or listening to peers share relatable experiences in a group, children realize they are not alone in their struggles. This gives them a safe space to process big emotions and unthinkable experiences. Therapy can be life-changing, impacting every aspect of their lives now and for years to come.”

In our new partnership, Espere will use their expertise in the counseling industry to hire qualified counselors and therapists to help children at ACHF partner orphanages.

Meeting the Needs of Each Child

Each child is assigned to a therapist working at the orphanage. Their therapy begins with an intake assessment in which the needs of the child are identified.

Using the intake assessment results, the therapist meets with the child’s caregivers to discuss a plan to move forward. In making this plan, they let the goals and aspirations that the child has expressed lead their discussion. Once the plan is in place, the therapist is ready to begin work with the child. Therapists keep the children’s caregivers at the orphanage, as well as Espere and ACHF, in the loop about each child’s improvement. 

Training Caregivers

The full-time caregivers at orphanages have love and a sincere desire to help the children they care for, but they often lack training on how to handle the complex behavioral and emotional problems that arise from a child’s past traumatic experiences. Professional training from ACHF-sponsored Espere therapists will teach these caregivers the skills they need to help their children thrive.

You Are Making a Difference!

Amber Young, our Director of Strategic Partnerships working with Espere Counseling says, “This isn’t just about having these kids survive–it’s about bringing kids from surviving to thriving, and you can’t thrive without healing.”

Thank you for answering the call of these children. Because of you, many children are receiving the healing they need in order to have a happy life and a successful future.