Reflections from Udayan Care for Children’s Mental Health Week
Decades of research have shown the detrimental effects institutional care can have on a child’s development and mental health. We know children’s needs are best met in safe and loving families.
Our partnership with Udayan Care is making a difference for children in Delhi, India, who are reintegrating back into their families and communities after being spontaneously sent home from institutions during the Covid pandemic.
As we mark Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re honoured to bring you insights from the Udayan Care team and the children they’re supporting. Through the quotes below, discover how Udayan Care’s holistic and trauma-informed approach is making positive and lasting impacts. Get a first-hand look at their journey and find out how you can make a difference.
Dr Kiran Modi, Udayan Care’s Founder and Managing Trustee, shares:
As a practitioner working with children in care and with care experienced young people for the last 29 years, I have witnessed the majority of children in care have experienced trauma, whether acute, chronic or, more often than not, complex trauma. Its consequences can reveal themselves as just a one-off incident or often in a recurring pattern, adversely affecting the child in many ways, including their mental health. It requires inner healing through a trauma-informed care approach by the carer teams.
I want to appeal to all child and youth care practitioners to be the catalyst to support this inner healing and recovery journey by learning more about trauma and how it can affect people, trauma response mechanisms and trauma-informed care approach.
We have seen that as children in care reach adulthood, they can face re-traumatisation due to the impending disengagement with formal care. It is our responsibility to ensure they have the tools, skills and support to make this transition with resilience.
Srishti, a counsellor with Udayan Care, shares:
The children in our project supported by MJF went through a difficult time transitioning from life in an institution to returning home. This change has affected their psycho-social health and family relationships, reflecting their need for psychological support as many of the children had difficulty integrating with their parents, siblings and the community after having lived in the institution for so long. Initially, most of them were hesitant to share their feelings and even struggled to make eye contact. A need for building strong rapport and providing motivation with positive emotional support was observed among all.
A child’s upbringing has a decisive impact on their physical and mental health; therefore, we focused on the needs of primary caregivers and children. Maintaining a safe relationship with caregivers is essential for learning and improving early social skills. As many of these children have grown up in institutions with little contact with the outside world, we are putting efforts into creating awareness of what it’s going to be like moving back into the community.
I am pleased to share that after one year of structured psychological interventions with the children and their families, we can see meaningful improvements in their healing and recovery. As a counsellor, I believe everyone has resilience and happiness within them. Sometimes they just need someone to help them find it.
Several children we support through this project also share how receiving support has positively impacted their mental health and lives. They share:
Even in difficult times, I keep the will to live fully and achieve something meaningful for myself and society. I release all my emotions through my art, and it comforts me. If not, I know where to look for support.
Ranjana, Assistant Director of the Advocacy, Research & Training Department with Udayan Care shares:
A healthy mind includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It influences how to handle stress and make the right choices. The project’s interventions create an environment where children’s voices are heard and respected for their holistic development and mental well-being.
In conclusion, we are pleased to partner with Udayan Care and support children transitioning from institutional care back into their families. We encourage you to be part of the solution and join us in our mission to end the era of orphanages. Whether it’s through sharing this story, learning more about trauma and how it can affect children and young or making a donation, your support can impact the lives of children and families.
Together, we can make a difference and give these children the bright and healthy future they deserve. Visit our Get Involved page to learn more about how you can support this important work.