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NZ Counsellors Association support early intervention

Working with kids earlier around anxiety and stress is crucial, and each community needs to have their own catered approach, urges the NZ Counsellors Association (NZAC).

Miriama Tolo is an Executive member of the association who also works with children in the Porirua region. In response to a recent Radio NZ article, she says that communities must implement early intervention and teach kids to be more resilient.

“For example, our school education system is currently based on learning subjects such as English and maths,” she says.

“Children don’t learn strategies to cope with anxiety and stress, and there is a wider assumption that children learn those strategies somewhere else.

“But for a lot of kids in areas like Porirua, there is nowhere else. And they’re coming from complex families, meaning there are lots of issues they’re dealing with.

“And honestly, kids that age shouldn’t be dealing with them. But they have to because they’ve got no choice.”

According to Miriama, some schools in the Porirua and Ōtaki regions have started those conversations, and they’re looking at how they can deal with the issue.

“And it’s not a little issue, its massive. And often kids experience a wide range of issues before reaching the final crisis point.”

However, the series of issues leading up to crisis point is specific to each community.

“This is why it’s really important to take a local approach to dealing with these issues, as it allows communities to look inside themselves and really get to the root of the problem.”

Although the conversations are too late for kids who have already left, Miriama says they’re crucial for the next generation.

“They’re not easy conversations to have, but its important we support each area to be able to better cater to their kids mental and emotional needs.”

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