Updated: 04/17/2014 02:08

Temasek Cares' KITS to help impart skills to deal with effects of trauma in children

Temasek Cares' KITS to help impart skills to deal with effects of trauma in children

Non-profit organisation Temasek Cares has launched a programme that aims to provide therapy to children with emotional and psychological difficulties from trauma. 

It's called KITS, which stands for Kids In Tough Situations. 

Temasek Cares will work in partnership with KK Women's and Children's Hospital to train more than 60 therapists, social workers and school counsellors in trauma-focused therapy for children who've been exposed to actual or threatened death, serious injury or violence. 

Five will become trainers themselves, creating a scalable model of support for children in the community. 

Temasek Cares' Chairman Richard Magnus says they made children a priority in this programme because they tend to be more susceptible to the effects of trauma. 

"Children are especially vulnerable. They have difficulty in articulating their feelings, they need intervention fairly quickly before they become worse. So we need to pilot a programme where we can test the therapy programme that we've put into place."

Deputy Head of KK Hospital's Psychosocial Trauma Support Service, Lim Xin Yi, says currently, community-based therapists and school counsellors may not have the confidence to deal with children who have post-trauma psychological or emotional difficulties. 

When such difficulties go untreated, children are at the risk of developing other types of psychological or psychiatric disorders. 

And the KITS programme nips this problem in the bud. 

"It is to help ensure that problems don't escalate, and children are being appropriately identified and given the necessary treatment."

KITS is expected to benefit about 1,920 children and their caregivers. 

Outreach efforts will also be made to about 7,000 teachers, parents and the public, to raise awareness of trauma and its effects on children. 

Since the pilot began in February, about 34 therapists have attended a basic course. 

They are now receiving clinical group supervision from KKH psychologists and medical social workers, and will attend an advanced course next year. 

This three-year pilot programme is the first initiative under the $40 million Temasek Emergency Preparedness Fund announced by Temasek Holdings last month. 

-By Lianne Chia

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