October 8, 2010
Counselor: Children need stability, discipline and love

The circumstances which apparently drove eleven-year-old Aldan Richards to take his own life last week have sparked reaction from many persons in the general public.{{more}}

But while many are of the opinion that the action could have been avoided, experts say that it is not always easy to determine if a child is going to make a decision to end his or her life.

“St Vincent has a lot of single parent households; children need stability, discipline and love,” Sacha Bacchus, programme facilitator and counselor, said.

She contends that not enough emphasis is put on mental health and the overall impact this has on individuals.

“Mental health is the most important aspect, and it can affect a person’s physical being,” she continued, saying that society will change when issues affecting mental health are addressed.

However, there are ways to ensure overall mental wellness among children.

Bacchus is a counselor under the AGANAR programme and is presently based at Marion House where she works with young people between the ages of 16 and 24.

She advises parents to get to know their children.

“They need direction in their life, and if not, they tend to feel neglected,” she continued.

“Knowing the facts and characteristics can help the issue,” Bacchus said.

She added that in her opinion, bullying is a behaviour that is passed on from adults.

Nevertheless, it is a serious issue and one that has adverse effects on quiet children, she said.

She outlined some key changes in behaviour that parents and teachers alike should look for when dealing with children who may have suicidal tendencies, adding that they should also be educated on what to look for.

Violent tendencies and poor communication are usually two indicators that something may be wrong, Bacchus said.

“The problem isn’t that the child is depressed, but to change what may be causing that depression,” she further stated.

“It takes the love and vigilance of a community and direction from parents; children need to believe that they are loved.”

Bacchus also said that the key solution to solving some of the potentially bigger issues is for parents to properly discipline their children.

“If they (children) don’t want to communicate, it means that the parents may have done something wrong,” she told SEARCHLIGHT.

The idea is to come up with a set of guidelines, as it is important to set children on the right path.

“We need to observe our children and we have to get them to talk,” Bacchus explained.

“This means that parents and teachers have to find another route and use it to engage them.”

“Support is a big thing,” she said.

Richards died at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital on Saturday, October 2, after ingesting gramoxone on Wednesday, September 29. He told relatives he drank the poisonous substance when he learned that the school had called in his father, because he was afraid his father would beat him. He also said he was “tired and fedup” and that his teacher never believed him when he tried to explain.(DD)