Because of the epidemic, more and more children and young people are suffering from mental health problems

back dam. Concern is growing for children and young people in Potsdam. Nearly two and a half years into the coronavirus pandemic, help, advice and treatment offers are being fully utilized in the state capital. For example, the Institute for Social Education in Berlin (SPI) and the Academy of Psychotherapy and Research Intervention at the University of Potsdam (API) are fully booked — for the next year and a half, said Stephanie Bohr, Potsdam’s coordinator for children and youth. In the most recent social commission: “The system will collapse immediately.”

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Hotline for children and young people counted 10,000 calls in Potsdam in 2021

Bert Freudenberg, Head of the Hotline for Children and Youth in Potsdam, and her team see the urgency of the needs of younger Potsdamer every day. “I can confirm: the phone does not stand still,” Bert Freudenberg said on the panel. “Last year we received nearly 10,000 calls in Potsdam alone – that’s 3,000 more calls than the year before.”

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The mostly young volunteers on the Children and Youth Hotline are there, they listen and with those who seek advice think about what can help them. Motto: Self-help help. “We want to mobilize children and young people to get support for themselves,” Birte Freudenberg says. “This means that we are often the first place they look for offers, put themselves down, and trust them.”

Isolation, domestic violence and more depressing issues in Potsdam

In this pandemic, frustrating issues have emerged – above all the issue of isolation, but also the experience of domestic violence. Concrete example: a nine-year-old turns to the phone: there was a quarrel in the family, the quarrel escalated, both parents get away in their cars – they leave the child in the kitchen. The boy does not know when his parents will return, what to eat, and certainly not how to deal with what he has just experienced. In this case, the nine-year-old boy calls. Perhaps he heard about this number at school or spotted it on the tram.”

number vs sadness

The Child and Youth Hotline at 116111 can be reached Monday through Saturday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. – across the country, anonymously and free of charge from cell phones and landlines.

Anyone who prefers writing rather than speaking can opt for advice online around the clock and also for free at Counselors respond as quickly as possible, usually within one to two days. negation

However, consultants also face other serious issues on a daily basis. “These are topics like sexual assault or suicide,” says Bert Freudenberg. “For example, a young man who had suicidal thoughts turned to us, doesn’t know what to do, but would like to live – just not the way he’s living now.” In search of answers, he turns to children and the youth hotline. “We are a small project that can make a big difference,” Birte Freudenberg says. “The need is growing. For the business to remain stable, we need support.”

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The SPD wants to make offers of aid more clearly in Potsdam

Timo Riemann knows that, too. He is a member of the Potsdam SPD City Council (SVV) and is also a child psychiatrist. Riemann has repeatedly stressed the importance of low-threshold assistance offerings, which include the Children and Youth Helpline, as well as the Women’s Helpline; Only in the last SVV made a request to increase their visibility. “Most people in Potsdam know nothing of offers of help, they put up with their suffering until the pressure continues to build and after that minimal assistance is no longer sufficient.” But then patients face long waiting lists from therapists.

Bring health professionals and psychologists to Potsdam schools

At the same time, the psychologist is taking another approach and wants to hire trained professionals for new jobs. “When it comes to children, we schools have to think professionally,” he says. Suggestion: Bring teams of school health workers and psychologists to schools. “You can compare that to school social work, which has happily been an established norm,” says Timo Riemann. He imagines that the development of such a network depends on the use of social workers, who were initially deployed in schools in dire need of help, and then were gradually distributed throughout the city. “First of all, it should happen where the hut is on fire,” he says.

Consequences for Potsdam’s economy

Implementation of such projects will initially be possible only in an experimental nature. “It’s going to be a start,” says Timo Rayman. “The big problems that many children and young people have today will only be put on hold if there is no help.” This will also weaken the economy in the long run. “But above all you have to see him as a human being. We must help these children now.”

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Written by Nadine Fabian and Saskia Curve

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