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Children of parents with PTSD can be secondarily traumatised. They are in a state of alert themselves and get scared when the adult shows anxiety. Talk about it.
2 to 5 pupils in every class have a parent who suffers from mental illness and you should be aware that some of the pupils can be affected by this. It does not hurt the children to talk about these things. On the contrary, in fact, as silence is in itself a breach of trust. If a pupil is affected during class, it is important that you recognise his or her reaction – both directly and in the class. You can, for instance, explain to the pupil how it is completely normal to be affected. Be aware if the pupil does not tell you too much. Arrange, for instance, to meet with the pupil after class. If you meet, it is very important that you listen carefully to his or her story. You can’t hurt the child by asking questions about his or her story – on the contrary. If you need inspiration you can use the teacher’s guide to the good conversation or cards for conversation. However, the most important thing is that you listen and indicate that it is not a dangerous thing to talk about. Be present; listen and recognize the child’s thoughts and feelings. At the same time it is important to be aware of your own limits. If necessary you can refer the child, and maybe his or her parents, to other professionals.
At the foot of this page you can see where to get professional help and how to find more information about PTSD.
It is very important to talk to children – also about things that are difficult. Psychologist Charlotte Diamant talks about a therapy group for children (in Danish) with parents who suffer from mental illness. Read more about The Danish Mental Health Foundation’s groups for children with mentally ill parents. (The text continues further down on this page, after the film).
As a teacher you can always turn to the school network for help – for instance colleagues, the school principal, AKT teachers, the school nurse or the school psychologist.
Call for free and anonymously on 116 111 (all weekdays between 11am and 11pm, weekends between 11am and 7pm)
Check the child portal for more details and information about possibilities for referral.
Call 3925 2525 (weekdays between 11 am and 11pm, weekends between 11am and 7pm)
Call 3555 5558 (Tuesdays between 8am and 10am, Thursdays between 2pm and 4pm)
As a teacher, if you become suspicious or have reason to believe that a pupil’s development and well-being is in danger, you have the duty to report it – always.