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New trauma animation highlights importance of long-term support for children and young people affected by war and conflict in the past

The UK Trauma Council, a project of Anna Freud, has developed new resources, aimed at 12 to 21 year olds, to provide support for children and young people's mental health and wellbeing. 

The UK Trauma Council, a project of mental health charity, Anna Freud, is today (14 November) launching a set of new resources aimed at helping and supporting children and young people affected by long-term childhood trauma, war and conflict.  

These resources include a 3-minute animation, aimed at 12 to 21 year olds, two toolkits for professionals and a short, written resource for young people. The resources were developed by the UK Trauma Council in co-production with partner organisations and young people with lived experience of war and conflict.  

The toolkit for education settings aims to meet the growing need for schools, early years and colleges to adequately support children and young people seeking refuge in the UK after war and conflict. The resource supports staff to recognise and appropriately respond to trauma, with guidance on referring to specialist services. 

The toolkit for community organisations is aimed at volunteers and staff working in roles supporting children and young people who may not have had mental health training. A ready-made workshop plan is included, to facilitate discussions around trauma responses and paths to recovery, along with a self-care plan to help staff and volunteers think about how this work can impact them.

The animated film uses storytelling to help inform young people about common physical and emotional responses to trauma, normalise these responses and show the importance of social connections and addressing traumatic memories from the past. The resource for young people has been translated into Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, Pashto [Subtitles only], Tigrinya [Subtitles only] and Ukrainian.

David Trickey, UK Trauma Council Co-Director and Consultant Clinical Psychologist said:  

“The toolkits highlight for professionals how effective ordinary interactions within education settings can support recovery by drawing on evidence informed principles. It then sets out recommendations for how to identify those that may benefit from specialist support.  

“The toolkits also include a section on self-care for staff including recognising both vicarious trauma and vicarious resilience that can arise from exposure to the trauma of others.” 

Professor Eamon McCrory, Co-Director UK Trauma Council and Director of Postgraduate Studies, Anna Freud said: 

“The UK Trauma Council are launching these resources to help both young people and professionals recognise and respond to trauma after war and conflict. We have developed a short animation specifically for young people, illustrating the different ways trauma can impact them. The animation also highlights for young people how dealing with the past can help them move forward – and the key role that social connection plays in this journey”.  

The UK Trauma Council would like to thank the National Lottery Community Fund, the Prudence Trust and the Orp Foundation for funding these resources. 

The animation can be viewed online here and the toolkits can be downloaded here. The video animation could be suitable for younger children if supported by a parent or carer to understand the content and to try the suggested activities.