We often hear the phrase,
Children are so resilient; they can cope with more than that for which we give them credit.
The problem is that those words can mask the need for people to think about the fact that, whatever the children have gone through that needed that level of ‘resilience’, it will almost certainly impact upon them in some way at some time and that they, and whoever they are with, will then need to deal with the consequences. When we start to talk about childhood trauma, the challenges of dealing with it are complex, difficult, painful, sometimes controversial and often expensive and time consuming. Therefore, it is frequently easier to only look at what is obvious and evident and bury the difficult stuff in the hope it does not resurface.
The thing is that the legacy of trauma seldom goes away but sits and waits for an event or experience that brings it back into the light and that is the point when the platitude that began this piece can be seen for what it is; dismissive of what trauma actually is and does. In recent times the debate around society’s perceptions and understanding of mental health has raised people’s awareness and it is harder, in some circumstances, for governments, authorities and purse string holders to avoid having to provide the right support for those young people affected and the families who commit to their future. However, the young people who are victims of early childhood trauma can slip through the net as many are not in what are considered ‘stable placements’ so will not be considered for proper therapeutic support or who are in foster or adoptive family situations which again have varying degrees of effective support frameworks dependent often on where the family lives.
We are still only scratching the surface and so there are large numbers who are either overlooked or only have the superficial treatment for aspects of their mental health that a particular authority can afford or is resourced to provide. Some are caught between academic discussions on a particular aspect of their mental health condition and end up having a ‘preferred’ theory dictate any support or inform a diagnosis and the professionals then trying to make the realities of that person’s mental health fit that picture. The result is that many often grow up misunderstood, misdiagnosed or even missed altogether. They are frequently in a cycle of replaying abuse and trauma and many are re-abandoned, forgotten or can become institutionalised.
We need ALL agencies and relevant parties to commit to support these children with whatever is required practically, right from the start, as part of a child’s rescue package and with a pledge to follow each child and their parents/carers through their dependent years, knowing that the trauma will need to be properly processed and each child supported, not in a one size fits all model, but according to their individual characteristics. It is false economy not to invest in child and adolescent mental health services as both the human and financial costs of not doing so are infinitely greater, not just for many of these young people as they reach adulthood, but for society as a whole.
I am really proud to have LSC support the issues above and be the home for my album ‘Knock Those Walls Down’, which takes the listener on one child’s journey through dealing with the legacy of trauma. It is a sequence of 12 songs which have a particular order and need to be listened to as an entity to be reflective of the journey being told. That said, they are also, hopefully, songs that stand on their own individual merits and can be both enjoyable listening experiences as well as helping in raising awareness and understanding.
40% of the cost of every album or individual song bought as a download, or of every CD ordered, will go to the organisation BICTD who specialise in supporting children who have undergone early childhood trauma and the families who have committed to supporting them and giving them a second chance. We hope you will purchase the album and add your support to this cause.