Tallinn increases funds for children and families' mental health services

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Children. The photo is illustrative. Source: Tanel Valdna/ERR

Tallinn has increased the funding for psychological counseling services by more than €100,000 to help lessen the impact of the coronavirus crisis.

Deputy Mayor Betina Beškina said the past year has been very difficult for everyone and has had an impact on the mental health and well-being of people.

"There is an increasing need for psychological help for children and families, but unfortunately the service is not always available in a reasonable time. For example, our child protection specialists guide the families to turn to our contractual partner, the Family Centre of Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church, but there are currently queues for the service for almost three months," Beškina said.

"Thus, we want to alleviate the situation and allocate an additional €107,888 to the provision of psychological support for children and families, in order to hire additional specialists and reduce the burden on existing staff."

The city will also give €19,300 to the EELC Family Centre to provide further family counselling, psychological counselling, parenting training, creative therapy and violence prevention services.

In order for the child protection specialists of the city districts to be able to direct the children and families to psychological counseling and therapies also to private service providers, an additional €49,800 is planned.

€34,788 will be assigned to organize the "Wonderful Years" program for parents of children aged 2-8 to carry out more training. There are currently queues for both initial and continuing training groups. The training helps relieve parental stress and cope with raising children.

Additionally, the staff of Tallinn Children's Day Center will be trained in aggression replacement training (ART) coaches, which will focus on the development of individual competencies. The program addresses various emotional and social aspects that contribute to young people's aggressive behavior. The aim of the training is to provide an overview and practical knowledge for conducting an ART program in an institution in order to reduce aggression and violence among youth. The first training will take place in August-September this year. The teachers who have passed the training will then be able to offer aggression replacement training to children in daycare centers of the districts as well.

From January to April, 126 people have been provided with psychological help through the EELC Family Centre, 665 families have received psychological help from the Tallinn Family Centre, and 49 people have completed the "Wonderful Years" program or are currently in training.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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