Counseling Tips For Community Members After A Child Abuse Incident

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As an EMT and paramedic, my husband was among the first to respond to 911 calls that involved people getting hurt. After keeping the same job for several years now, he would not even need to blink during car accidents or heart attacks because of their commonality. However, if there was something that would always get to him, it responded to a child abuse incident.

Just a few days ago, my husband left the house on a positive note. He was like, “Maybe there would not be too many accidents today.” It was a far cry from reality, but he was always hopeful about it.

Once he came home, though, my husband looked sadder than he had ever been – even more miserable than when his childhood dog passed away two years back.

“What happened? What’s wrong?” I asked.

My husband said, “Someone called 911 today to report his neighbors, who had been abusing their child regularly. The man disclosed that the parents wanted the child to stop acting like one, basically. If he so much as ran down the stairs or made a noise at home, they would make him sits on the steps of the porch And not give him a meal for the rest of the day.

“Oh, my God,” I uttered. “But why didn’t the neighbor call sooner?”

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“I heard the police ask the same thing to the concerned caller when we arrived at the scene. The man said that he and his other neighbors had been getting death threats from the child’s parents because they had been giving him food on the porch whenever they would see the child out there. The couple did not want anyone helping the poor kid, claiming that he would not understand the consequence of not following the rules if other people would intervene ceaselessly,” my husband explained.

“And what gave them the strength to call 911 now?” I asked.

“The parents seemed to have started hitting the child as starvation and neglect would not work due to the concerned neighbors on his side. They resorted to punching and using belts,” my husband uttered. Looking at me with sad eyes, he added, “It was so horrible. The kid was black-and-blue when I saw him. We asked if he could stand up, and he tried so hard to do it. However, he was visibly weak from constant beatings and lack of nourishment, so he kept falling.”

“Where did you bring the child?”

“Well, the boy would have to stay in the hospital for a few days to ensure that he could get some nourishment and heal his physical wounds. His devastated grandparents were also there to take care of him. Then, they would take him back to their ranch so that the child could live away from the pain – away from his parents, who would get persecuted for child abuse.”

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Reeling In

I did not need to be a counseling professional to realize how negatively the child abuse incident could impact the entire town. After all, for at least a week or so, various news outlets could flock in town and disturb the peaceful neighborhood to get a scoop about the family of the abused boy. Instead of being able to move on quietly, they would have to fend off snoopy reporters.

Seeing my husband’s reaction, too, it was highly possible that the incident would have a much more significant impact on other people. My husband had only known about it a few hours ago, but he was so shaken that he could not even eat his favorite chicken parmesan for dinner. As for the family’s neighbors who had been aware of the situation for months but could not do anything to save the child until now, it must make them feel guilty and sorry for letting the boy’s parents manipulate them.

Still, if I were the neighbors, I would not allow the incident to affect me for too long. It was not their fault that those parents treated their kids awfully. They could have contacted the police sooner, but their hands must be tied at the time. Also, people were not wired to think the worst of others, so they might not believe that parents could act like that.

Final Thoughts

There was no doubt in my mind that it would take a while for the child’s neighbors to move past the incident. That’s especially true since the family’s home sat in the middle of the community, abandoned after the parents got convicted. From what my husband told me, even the best real estate agents found it almost impossible to resell the property, given that everyone knew of its dark history.

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As for the child, he never returned to that place. It was the best decision, considering the awful memories might only return if he did. There were other ways to cope with what happened, and they did not involve going back down memory lane too soon.

Hopefully, there would not be another case like this in the future.

 

Counseling 101: How A Missing Child Affects The Community

I was driving my daughter from school the other day when I saw her giggling at something on her phone. I was like, “What’s so funny? What are you looking at?” When she turned her phone to me, I ended up stepping on the brake pedal so hard that I had to hold my arm out across my daughter’s chest to keep her head from hitting the dashboard.

Well, before you say anything, I am not a bad mother. I am also certainly NOT a bad driver. It just so happened that my teenage daughter showed me a clip from a social media platform, Tiktok. It was an image of a middle-aged woman with special effects overlaid to make her look like she was transforming from a human to a she-devil.

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“What the heck is that?” I demanded.

I mean, I could envision that woman really turning into a devil because of how good her image had been edited. And as a devout Christian, I did not want to think that way to anyone.

Giggling, my daughter said, “Relax, mom! This is the mother of that little boy Who went missing in my friend’s neighborhood last week. This clip had been going around on Tiktok because signs were pointing to his mother as the culprit.”

My head spun a little at every word that came out of my daughter’s mouth. I knew that I was not the techiest person, but I did not live under the rock. If there is any gossip, and my coworkers knew about it, they would relay the information to me. But this one never reached my radar, and it was disconcerting.

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Learning More About The Sad News

As soon as we got home, I asked my daughter to show me the news articles regarding that missing child. According to the earlier reports, a boy with autism snuck out of school one day and was seen going home in CCTV cameras. However, his family called the police to declare that he was missing.

It caused a city-wide search for the boy, and the law enforcers had been looking everywhere and asking everyone who could have possibly gotten him. The authorities even said in the beginning that the child might be hiding from them, considering he had a habit of doing the same thing to everyone regularly.

However, after a few days of searching in vain, my daughter said that there was a rumor spreading in her friend’s town that the boy was not missing at all. Instead, he had a deranged mother who drugged him to death and then dumped his body in the lake for calling 911.

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That’s when I turned to my husband, who apparently heard the same news earlier than I did.

“My God. Is that possible?” I asked him.

“Honey, we don’t know for sure, but I also heard at work that the police were starting to drain the lake. They must be running out of ideas and did not want to leave any stone unturned.”

Understanding The Situation

The more I pondered about it, the more I worried about the news’ impact on the town where the missing child came from. As a counselor, I came across people who developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), even if they were not directly affected by such events. It was more of a dark cloud hanging over their heads and making them worry about the other horrible things that could happen in their neighborhood.

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In such cases, I would suggest a group meeting. They could form a circle and talk about their feelings regarding the awful events in town. It would not be too much for them to seek group counseling either, mainly if they lived in a close-knit community.

From what my daughter told me, after all, her friend’s parents and neighbors felt guilty for not seeing the likely signs that the boy’s mother could do a heinous act. Although there were no official news reports about it yet, it might only be a matter of time before reporters got wind of it. That would be especially true if they would find a body at the bottom of the lake. *knock on wood*

My daughter asked me what those people could likely do to move past this incident once the boy was found. I said, “They need to be more supportive of each other. If someone feels blue, they should check on them. It also matters to create a safe space for everyone to express their feelings. Otherwise, they may not be willing to talk about it.”

Final Thoughts

At this time of writing, I feel sad to announce that the boy has not been found. The law enforcers continued to retrace his steps from the school to the house, but they could not find clues that would lead to the child. We could only hope and pray that the rumors were incorrect about his mother and that the police could return the boy safely to his family.

Frequently Asked Questions About Anxiety And Depression For Community Members

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Living in a tight-knit community got its ups and downs.

The advantages were pretty obvious. Whenever a homeowner throws a party, you are always invited. If you cannot come, they may pack some food and send them to your house. Practically every mother in the neighborhood can be your babysitter, too, and they do not accept payments for looking after your child for a few hours. They can also serve as your spies if you are out of town, and it’s only your husband at home.

However, the disadvantage is that you cannot hide your mental condition from anyone. When you are depressed, they will see something’s wrong. If you are anxious, they will know something’s wrong. Many of them cannot do, though, to identify the differences between mental disorders like anxiety and depression.

I witnessed this disadvantage first-hand at a homeowner association’s meeting. One of my new neighbors revealed that she went to a young psychologist who gave her different diagnoses in the two consultations that she attended.

“It could be depression or anxiety,” the new neighbor said.

The elders began asking questions about the two, but the new neighbor did not know how to answer them. I decided to step in and help provide clarifications.

Is anxiety more common than depression? 

 Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental disorders. Still, anxiety appears to be more prevalent than depression.

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Is depression considered an anxiety disorder? 

 No, depression cannot be considered an anxiety disorder. Instead, it is categorized as a mood disorder.

Is anxiety the same as stress? 

 No, anxiety is not the same as stress. When you feel stressed, you tend to become short-tempered, tired, sad, angry, and restless. On the other hand, when you get diagnosed with anxiety, it entails that you worry about the same things nonstop, regardless if it’s rational or not.

What is the difference between anxiety and depression medication? 

 Psychiatrists provide different medications to treat anxiety and depression. A common antidepressant drug is nortriptyline, while benzodiazepines are popular anti-anxiety pills.

At what age does anxiety peak? 

 Most people experience anxiety between the ages of 30 and 44.

What is the hardest mental illness to live with? 

 According to various sources, borderline personality disorder (BPD) is the most challenging illness to live with. The reason is that its sufferers experience constant mood swings that affect their functioning and self-image.

Does anxiety cause suicidal thoughts? 

 Based on research, anxiety has a strong connection to people’s suicidal thoughts, although more studies must be conducted before claiming that anxiety can cause suicidal thoughts.

Is anxiety a mental illness? 

 Yes, anxiety is a mental illness – the most prevalent one in the US.

What is extreme anxiety? 

 Extreme anxiety is what an individual experience when they cannot stop worrying about specific things, no matter how many times they have already been in that situation.

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How are you diagnosed with anxiety? 

 The first thing that psychiatrists will ask about is your medical condition. They will most likely run blood tests, considering they want to rule out the possibility of your anxiety symptoms being caused by your medications for other illnesses. After all, cyclosporine (rheumatoid arthritis) and levodopa (Parkinson’s disease) users are known to have this side effect. Once the psychiatrist determines that you have no medications or physical conditions related to that, they will perform a psychological evaluation.

During this next step, you need to open up about what symptoms you’ve experienced, how severe they are, and how frequent or long they last every time. Psychiatrists can also go as far as asking if any of your relatives have been diagnosed with anxiety before, given that the disorder may have been passed down to you genetically. Then, you may have to answer a questionnaire regarding the effects of anxiety in your daily activities.

The thing is, a mental health diagnosis does not happen after the first appointment. That is especially true if you have been previously diagnosed with eating or post-traumatic stress disorder. When the psychiatrist finishes covering all the bases, they will schedule a feedback session and discuss their findings with you.

How do I cope with anxiety? 

  • Question every worry that comes to mind. Ask yourself, “Is this valid?” If the answer is no, try to change your thought pattern.
  • Whenever you feel worried, it is also ideal to have a pen and paper with you and write it all down. The idea is that your thoughts go straight to the paper, so it serves as your outlet for anxiety.
  • Assess all your triggers and learn how to identify every single one of them. This way, you will not feel overwhelmed when you deal with them.
  • Meditate at least once a day. The best time to do that is before you leave the house. Remind yourself that you are going to a safe place with trustworthy people and that no issues get resolved when you freak out.
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What happens when anxiety is left untreated? 

 Untreated anxiety may push an individual to isolate themselves from the rest of the world. Their views change; they can no longer function usually. Worse, anxiety may cause the development of other disorders.

What triggers your anxiety? 

  • Stress
  • Physical health conditions
  • Medications that have anxiety-inducing side effects
  • Caffeinated beverages
  • Hunger
  • Negative thoughts
  • Money problems
  • Social issues
  • Disputes
  • Public performances
  • Other mental disorders

How do you tell if you are stressed? 

  • You get irritated by little things.
  • You feel overwhelmed by changes.
  • You cannot relax, no matter what you do.
  • Your self-esteem can hit rock-bottom.
  • You feel like drowning in all your activities, no matter how mundane they are.

Is worry a form of anxiety?

No, worry is not a form of anxiety. Worry is an emotion that you experience when you have anxiety.

Final Thoughts

Explaining mental disorders to the elderly members of the community was far from being a cakewalk. However, in all fairness, mental disorders had always been a challenge to understand. Hopefully, though, the answers above have given you clarity about some of the frequently asked questions regarding anxiety and depression.

 

Living Through COVID-19 And Taking Care Of Your Mental Health

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Back in January, the world was shocked by the news of a new virus that caused millions to fall ill and thousands dead. Now many, many months later, the world has adjusted to a new life and a new normal. In countries such as New Zealand, people are quite lucky to live their lives as they used to but not every country is as lucky as New Zealand. Some countries remain suffering the chaos of COVID-19.

Continue reading Living Through COVID-19 And Taking Care Of Your Mental Health

From Family To Community: Taking A Leap Of Faith

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Family is everything. From our first moments to our last, our family is there to enjoy the best moments of our lives with us. Oftentimes we mistake family for the people who we are born into with, but in reality, the family is much more than just a mother, a father, and maybe a sibling or two. A family can be people who are not necessarily related to you, but people who genuinely care and love you. Admittedly, sometimes we feel as if our friends are more of a family to us than our actual family, and that’s okay because when you think about it, friends can be family too. 

Continue reading From Family To Community: Taking A Leap Of Faith

The Challenges Brought About By COVID-19 In Our Community

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The world has changed since the outbreak of COVID-19. Personally, it did not occur in my mind that I get to experience the scare of having a pandemic. Pandemic means that it is already a global problem and that each and everyone should be on the lookout to take care of ourselves as well as the people around us.

Continue reading The Challenges Brought About By COVID-19 In Our Community

Our Neighborhood During This COVID-19 Time

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When Wuhan declared that there was a bat-snake complication coming from them that led to people getting so sick, some nations took the warning aggressively. Those getting affected by the Corona Virus or simply COVID-19 experience pneumonia-like symptoms but to a more extreme case, and they die after a week or so. It is so terrible, to say the least. At this time, there are about 138,000 people who have died because of this disease. The fear is that many could be carrying the virus, and yet, they do not know it. They could be infecting others without realizing that they are infected.

Continue reading Our Neighborhood During This COVID-19 Time

Increasing Community Engagement: Tips And Tricks

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As a member of a community, you must remain sweet and lovely to the people surrounding you. Cliché as it may sound, but no man is indeed an island. If you do not know how to engage well with your fellow members in the society, then you may encounter significant problems along the way. At the same time, you will find it challenging to survive your days since you cannot easily approach anyone of them.

Because of this, we have decided to come up with an article that will focus on the different techniques that you can use so that you will be able to connect well with your community. The main focus of the post is to increase community engagement through the performance of the strategies that we are going to provide below.

Show Your Friendly Vibe

 The initial step that you have to consider is to let everyone become comfortable in approaching you. The technique is to send a friendly vibe to everyone. As much as possible, try to have a smiling face all the time. Never let anyone feel that you are challenging to communicate to. Otherwise, people will begin to avoid you.

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Give Them Time To Talk

Another essential tip that you need to keep in mind is the significance of allowing other people to tell their stories. Be considerate enough to know when is the best time to let them talk. Once they notice that you are a good listener, these individuals will become more interested in talking to you. Be sure to show them that you are kind.

Contribute To The Community

There are many ways on how you can let other people know that you care for the entire community. For example, you can volunteer to help in local activities. All you need is to devote your time and efforts. Be sure to show to them that you are not hesitant to extend your helping hands whenever necessary. Your little actions will mean a lot to these people.

Teach Others

Do you think that you have what it takes to transform the lives of other people? If you said yes to this, then be sure to reach out to someone and give him an opportunity to learn from you. Do not be selfish by learning how to share your knowledge with those who need it. When you teach others the lessons that you have learned about life and everything in between, they will begin to respect and admire you for it. Remember that your knowledge about things are put in better use once you start to share it to others.

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Conclusion

Engagement with the community is an essential thing that you must prioritize. Otherwise, you will end up feeling lonely and sad when you cannot communicate with them well. At the same time, you increase the possibility of not having the right persons in your life if you will not consider the tips we mentioned above. Have fun in engaging with society!

Your Guide To Establishing Solid Friendships

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A lot of things in your life need constant effort and commitment before you can make them last. As such, it is crucial on your part to do everything you can to see it so that you will keep them in your life. One of the relationships that you must be concerned of is the kind of friendship that you have with the people surrounding you. As early as now, you must accept the reality that it more important to have quality friends than to have many but have fake ones.

In today’s article, we are going to provide you with some tips and tricks that you need to remember if you want to build strong friendships with the people surrounding you.

Be Truthful All The Time

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One of the things that you need to do is to see to it that you will remain honest in all your dealings with a friend. Take note that no one will stay longer in your life if you are not honest with them. At the same time, you need to take note that people will know if you are faking your interaction with them or not. They can tell if you are telling a lie based on the way you talk or act whenever they are around. Once they do, there is a high possibility that they will no longer be interested in making friends with you.

Have Faith In Your Friend

Are you aware that a person loves it once they can feel that someone believes in them? If you want to make a wonderful friendship last long, be sure to make a friend feel that you have faith in him. Be mindful of the things that you will say whenever he is around. The goal is not to lie to him but not to also hurt his feelings. If he does something great, do not hesitate to give praises. He will appreciate it whenever you take notice of his excellent achievements. On the other hand, if he does something terrible, do not ignore it. Let him know so that he can change.

Stop Forcing It

It is imperative for you to understand that there are some people who are mean to stay long in your life while some are just going to pass by to teach you a lesson. Make sure that you are smart enough to know the differences between these two kinds of persons. As such, prevent yourself from trying too hard to build a friendship with people who are not worth it. Believe that those who are right for you will eventually stay. Remember that the more you force a relationship, the faster they break.

Conclusion

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Do not be afraid to establish a strong foundation for every friendship that you have with someone. Take note that the best kinds of relationships are those that happen naturally. Be careful with the type of people that you surround yourself. In so doing, you can be sure that you will not commit any mistake.