Basseterre: St. Kitts, Tuesday, March 22, 2022: The Ministry of Education (MOE) in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Development engaged staff and students of the Joshua Obadiah Williams Primary School (JOW) in a psychosocial session on Monday, in the aftermath of the fire that destroyed the school on the evening of Friday, March 18.
Speaking with the Education Media Unit (EMU), Ms. Tracey Wattley guidance counsellor at the Cayon High School explained how important it is for individuals who have experienced a life-changing crisis to receive support that can help them deal mentally and emotionally with the impact.
“Psychosocial support is very important. It is one of the interventions that we [counsellors] normally use when we engage in crisis intervention and management. Psychosocial support is a process and actions that promote the holistic well-being of people. It facilitates resilience in individuals, families and communities,” expressed Ms. Wattley.
Ms. Wattley further explained that psychosocial support will be offered long-term to ensure that staff and students are managing the associated emotions well.
“Psychosocial support is an ongoing program or an ongoing intervention…we have to continuously check in on their [staff and students] feelings and also go back and do some form of education in terms of helping them to understand and describe their feelings. We [guidance counsellors] would also assist them to know what to look out for in terms of what should be normal and what isn’t normal about how they’re responding”, she clarified.
“The counsellors will be going back over a period of time until we would have brought them [staff and students of JOWPS] to a sense of feeling of normalcy because a lot of the staff and students would have expressed the normal trauma responses…flight, freeze and faun”, she said.
Explaining the benefits of the support given Ms. Wattley said, “We are helping them work through their emotions of fear, emotions of anger and emotions of sadness…social-emotional learning until they are at some form of normalcy and that they can function to some extent on own.”
The provision of psychosocial support is part of the MOE’s Crisis Management Plan with the focus of lessening the negative impacts of academic and mental stress and keeping schools functioning normally during times of crisis. It is the ministry’s hope that the Molineux School and community can have a smooth transition back to learning.