WACIT South America: Where the favelas trail led to a child mental health service in Brazil

The hypothesis was that the majority of communities with extensive exposure to trauma would primarily be accessed by NGOs in low and middle income countries. This was largely true, but here was an exception, where the trail from the favelas six months ago led to a specialist child mental health service in the State of São Paulo.

It was refreshing but also hard for the staff to compensate for other service gaps, whilst maintaining their designated roles in a large and deprived sector. Most of the dilemmas on targeting resources and coping with increasing demand were similar to anywhere else.

Consequently, this was the adapted focus of the child trauma workshop. Two key emerging lessons, were: 

1. The more complex the cases and the higher the population needs, the more helpful is using a framework (e.g. the attached risk and resilience model at individual, family and school/community level) and goal-setting.

2. Looking for opportunities to influence and effectively link with surrounding agencies such as shelters, orphanages or youth prisons, not withstanding the balance of those priorities on staff time.

Maybe one difference in Brazil was the staff following the workshop with a dancing event with children at the local community – would be nice to see this more often!


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