Cityhope Church to address abuse-related trauma in schools

CITYHOPE Church is moving into the schools to address the effects of abuse-related trauma for teenagers.

The charity arm of the Ripley-based church, Cityhope Care has created another first for Ipswich, developing high-school based programs run by a psychologist to educate teenagers who have been victims of abuse, witnessed abuse or suffered loss to understand and be better equipped to deal with their emotions.

The Headway Program has been conducted at three local high schools since 2009 and is calling on the community for further support to continue the work and extend the program.

Cityhope Care programs manager Grace Preston said the program recently received $1500 funding from Member for Ipswich Ian Berry and had previously been supported by Ipswich City Council and Ipswich Rotary.

Mrs Preston said the eight-week programs were delivered during school hours by psychologist Liz Dell, a long time member of Cityhope Church, who developed the programs based on her extensive work with adolescents in the public and private health sector.

Mrs Preston said there was a need to address growing suicide rates for teenagers and the number of broken families and stresses for parents.

"Prevention is better than a cure,'' Mrs Preston said.

"There are programs out there like Headspace which are about treating children. Our program is more about going into the school environment and teaching adolescents, giving them the strategies to understand and overcome the symptoms of their trauma."

Abuse-related trauma can result from witnessing or being involved in domestic violence; being physically, sexually or emotionally abused or assaulted; having a primary care giver that is misusing drugs or alcohol and being neglected.

It is can also result from witnessing or being involved in natural disasters such as fires, floods and cyclones, or disasters such as traffic accidents; experiencing the death of a close loved one; or having a life-threatening illness or extended time in hospital.

"The program is designed to provide an environment for young people to explore their trauma and to provide them with psycho-education regarding trauma as well as strategies to manage or overcome many of the distressing symptoms occurring as a result of experiencing trauma and abuse, with the aim of freeing them to enjoy life,'' Mrs Preston said.

To make a donation or for more information contact Grace Preston on 3288 0611 or email grace.preston@cityhope.com.au.



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