Key practice: Psychosocial support
Addressing the needs of your family
Recognize when a child, adolescent and pregnant woman need psychosocial support and seek timely medical and appropriate care.
Psychosocial well-being can be seen as the state of being or doing well of an individual in different aspects of life, including having supportive social relationships, access to basic survival needs and economic and environmental resources and physical, intellectual, emotional and development needs being addressed.
When is psychosocial support necessary?
Psychosocial support refers to local or external support provided that aims to promote or protect the psychosocial well-being of individuals or groups of persons. Therefore it is necessary when:
- If the adolescent girl or boy is acting out or misbehaving, or as a result is committing petty offenses, the family and community need to reach out and to provide psycho-social support if needed.
- Parents/caregivers should support adolescents to understand the changes that their bodies are going through during adolescence
- Parents/caregivers should ensure that girls are supported to manage menstruation challenges.
- Lashing out or misbehaving might also manifest itself through children committing petty offenses such as theft. A child coming into conflict with the law, especially as a first-time offender, could be a cry for more attention or support from the family and community. Thus, it is important that parents/caregivers talk to the children and find the root cause for them acting out before they serve the children with punishment.
- Pregnant women go through several changes like gaining weight, swollen feet, losing self-confidence therefore it is important that they are supported through the pregnancy and that they love themselves and the child they are carrying.
- Each child, adolescent and pregnant women goes through a variety of changes and deals differently in their social environment, so it is important that they are supported and helped to understand that whatever they are going through is very normal.
It is also important that they seek medical care as early possible should the need arise.
Benefits of psychosocial support
- Psychosocial support helps strengthen protective factors for the child, including their ability to identify dangerous and risky situations.
- Psychosocial support can help promote holistic child and adolescent development, including physical, emotional and social development.
- Psychosocial support, for example through provision of life skills activities helps strengthen children’s resilience and their ability to cope with difficult situations.
- Psychosocial support activities can help keep children safe and can be an avenue to identify risk factors in the child’s life.
- Regular psychosocial support provision can help re-establish relationships between a child with other children, as well as between children and adults, and can contribute to a sense of normality and routine.
- Psychosocial support can support children, adolescents and caregivers in having a sense of control of their own life, a sense of belonging and can help children create relationships and bonds with family members, friends and community members.
- Psychosocial support can be offered at community level through community and family support activities, for example through promoting and providing everyday activities such as schooling, activating social networks and in age-friendly spaces.
- Through provision of community-based support, resilience of communities and there capacities to support one another can be strengthened.
Did you know?
- Stress amongst caregivers and parents can impact on the psychosocial well-being of their own children.
- Lack of provision of psychosocial support when children and adolescents are displaying symptoms of distress can lead to longer-term mental health consequences if unsupported.
- Caregivers/parents and community members’ inability to identify signs and symptoms of distress amongst children and adolescents can lead to longer term mental health concerns.
- Lack of social welfare support available to support children and parents/caregiver requiring advanced psychosocial support and psychosocial care can put children at further harm.
- Emergencies such as conflicts, natural disasters and disease outbreaks can impact on the traditional protective environment around children and communities’ capacity to provide the necessary emotional and social supports.