Project HELP - Addressing PTSD with Children

Every two years, WMU prayerfully chooses a Project HELP emphasis. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), is the Project HELP emphasis for 2016-2017. WMU encourages members at all ages to minister in some way to those suffering with PTSD.

The preceding paragraph is included in each Children in Action Leader, GA Leader, and RA Leader magazine. But, what does it mean? What in the world are you supposed to do as a leader? How do you help children understand PTSD?

Here's an overall tip to keep in mind: The children in your missions education group need your love, support, and understanding. People in their families, neighborhoods, or schools may be struggling with PTSD. It could be that some of the children in your missions education group are struggling with PTSD themselves. While missions leaders, church staff members, and parents can play a key role in helping someone with PTSD, it's best to know your limits. Trained therapists are the best people to call upon to help when it is believed that someone is struggling with PTSD.

So, what's a missions leader to do? Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. When someone goes through a stressful situation (whether PTSD-related or not), they need time to adjust. During stressful situations, offer support, love, and understanding.

2. When children face traumatic events, let them talk about it when and if they feel ready. Don't try to force the issue if they don't want to share their thoughts. Whether they want to talk about the event or not, encouragement and praise go a long way in letting them know how much you care.

3. Some children may need a support group for PTSD. As a missions leader, you aren't responsible for seeking out that help. It would be best to talk with your pastor, children's minister, or another staff member if you think a child is struggling with PTSD. Follow his or her guidance as to whether you should talk further with the child or with the parent.

4. PTSD issues can make children, teens, or adults feel powerless. As appropriate, empower your missions education groups to take the lead in planning, organizing, or carrying out an upcoming event. Giving children positive control over their lives can offer them encouragement and strengthen their sense of self-confidence.

5. Encourage children under your care to talk to their parents, pastor, or school counselor about what they are going through.

Helping someone struggling with PTSD will take time and patience. Simply being available and offering a listening ear will go a long way in helping the children in your care.

Learn more about Project HELP by visiting:

Project HELP resources can be used to educate yourself and other adults in your congregation about PTSD and how to help those who are hurting.

Sometimes I am Afraid
All preschoolers face fears. Leaders and parents of preschoolers will find this book's reassuring, warm text and illustrations helpful in teaching preschoolers to trust in God when they are afraid. Through this book, preschoolers will learn to ways to trust God and to pray to Him when they experience fear. Suggestions and tips for using this book are included.

W148103 - $8.99


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