families in a crisis
How you and your church can help families during times of extraordinary stress.
Trauma and Toxic Stress
Traumatic events trigger a stress response in anyone directly affected and those anticipating the trauma affecting them. Stress negatively impacts adults’ capacity to provide responsive nurturing care for baby. What can we do about it? We can be proactive and put supportive relationships in place around families so that they can endure. While we might not be able to prevent the trauma from happening, or change their circumstances, we can walk with families so that they don’t get stuck in toxic stress, but can move to tolerable stress. This is where you and your church can play a part. Responsive positive relationships can offer protection that buffers children from developmental disruption as a result of adversity.
This video is sourced from the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child.
What you and your church can do
Churches are well positioned in communities to provide intentional care for families facing trauma and crisis. Existing strengths and assets can be used to surround, support and strengthen families. If you are new to the Sikunye model, read some more about the role of churches connecting with families.
These resources are intended to inform, and shape your response as a church during a time of crisis. Some are aimed at the Covid-19 lockdown context and are useful in many contexts.
- How to build positive, supportive relationships –PDF
- Steps to follow if mom or dad is struggling –PDF
- Practical ideas for showing love for families during lockdown –PDF
- Useful contact numbers of organisation and helplines –PDF
- Additional helplines and organisations – Website
We encourage you to collaborate with other organisations, services and initiatives in your community. There may be very helpful resources in and around your church that can provide the kind of care and support that you can’t.
Caring for yourself as you care for others
If you are caring for children during a crisis, or supporting and strengthening others, it is important to recognize that you need to practice self-care. Many crises affect whole communities, and it is important that you are supported as you care for others. These resource may be helpful for you personally as well as those parents/caregivers you are supporting.
- Helpful tips to manage stress, anxiety and depression – PDF
- Parenting tips: this is a stressful time, take care of yourself – PDF
- Coping with depression, anxiety and addictions during COVID-19 – Website
- Resources and links related to mental health – Website
- Embrace’s range of videos of how to support mothers breastfeeding during a crisis – Website