Needs Response And Prevention Of Mental Health Disorders For Children With A Parent In Prison

Scientific evidence shows that imprisonment of a parent is an adverse childhood experience which hinders proper mental development of a child. However, something can be done to rehabilitate the mental health of the child during his/her early childhood years but not later during his/her adult hood. Science tells us that a child who has been left by his/her parent(s) and denied bond of attachment develops an abnormal small malfunctioning brain while a child who stayed and developed bond of attachment to his/her parents develops a normal big and well-functioning brain. The child with the small brain performs badly in schools and future life while the one with a normal large brain performs better in school and in his/her future life.

A child psychiatrist Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD in his non-fictional scientific research findings in his book entitled “The boy who was raised as a dog” available online reveals a young boy whose mental and physical development stopped and improperly developed after being prevented to have contacts with his parents. The boy’s brain and bodily improper development was medically treated very well and given balanced diet but could not help any recovery. Once he was given opportunity to be in contact with his parents, his mental and physical development changed abruptly and grew very well and with high intellect.

In the Tanzania local Guardian of 13 June 2019 at page 12 in its article Real-life story of a victim whose husband is in Jail” reports a real story of a young school girl called Devotha (not real name) living in Tegeta, Dar Es Salaam region who used to be very bright in school but once her father was imprisoned and denied by Policy to visit her parent in prison for more than 2 years, developed unbearable Post-traumatic mental stress disorders including: sadness, confusion, fear, guilty, anger, isolation, self-stigma and beating herself. These symptoms caused and continue causing her to perform very poor in schools.

The Children Education Society (CHESO) in partnership with the Tanzania Assemblies of God (TAG)-Kichemchem Street Church with support from the Wells of Hope Ministries (Uganda) convened a stakeholders meeting to attract their support for immediate needs response and prevention of mental disorders for these children of a parent in prison.

The organization staff also attended a staff capacity building training on child protection at lake Alementaita Hotel, Kenya organized by the Save the Children. The training deepened organization’s capacity in its stride to respond and prevent mental disorders for children with a parent in prison in Tanzania.

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