Training for health service providers
The Health-Promoting School does not exist in a vacuum. To be most effective, it must collaborate with formal and informal, public and private individuals, organisations and disciplines. In the area of violence, health service providers play an especially important role. Professional training and continuing education for health professionals should include a focus on how to address different kinds of violence affecting children and adolescents. Health care professionals need skills in the diagnosis and management of child and adolescent behaviour disorders. They need to know how to recognise symptoms associated with abuse and trauma.
Rather than only learning to treat the consequences of violence, however, health professionals need to know how to prevent or at least reduce its frequency and severity. They can benefit from training in many of the violence prevention skills. They should also be trained to work in partnership with teachers, communities, parents, young people and volunteers. For example, health care professionals can provide prevention education to students and counselling to those who have witnessed or are victims of violence. They can also help inform parents by advising them about appropriate disciplining, effective parent-child communication, dangers, availability and safe storage of firearms, and role modelling of appropriate behaviour. These lessons can be built into children's early and on-going routine visits.
Institutes of higher education that train professionals and paraprofessionals in public health, nursing, medicine, social work and education may provide training on violence prevention and interventions. In war-torn countries, mental health workers from non-governmental organisations, mental health institutes and the ministry of public health may be trained in ways to help children deal with their trauma and grief. Continuing education should be offered to practising professionals so that practitioners can acquire the skills they need to intervene early.
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