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Do you want to talk about it?

April 21, 2010


Rita Alika

Schools are not always a healthy psychological place for children and teenagers. Sometimes children do not understand what they are doing and can offend, chaff or derogate others without realizing it. Social workers in the school try to help children who have problems and maybe speak about their problems.

Confidential phone-line for children and teenagers is as so a possible solution. There are 3 phone-lines for different operators – Lattelecom 80009000, Bite 1860, Tele2 28809000. Lattelecom provides help 24 hours a day but the other two are ready to help from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. There are eight workers in the charity organization who are willing to listen to children and offer advice daily.

One concern for experts is the preparation volunteers receive. Although volunteers are trained they do not always have college degrees in psychology.

As an experiment this reporter pretended to have one of the most common problems among female teenagers in schools: no boyfriend – if a girl doesn’t have a boyfriend she must be ugly and have something wrong with her; girls feel lonely and think that everyone is against them. During the experimental call some more information was given including the girl being a virgin among all classmates in the 12th grade and this reporter said her mother yells at home because of weird behavior not studying almost at all.

At the beginning of the conversation, the phone counselor tried to get a picture of my situation. She asked different questions and tried to find out my real motives for wanting the boyfriend and being so dependent on peers’ opinions. She asked some questions to check if  I was depressed. She asked if there was a social worker in my school who could talk this thing out with me. When I said that I don’t know about this, she said that there are different psychologists whom I could speak with, and it could help me. When I said that my mother also yelled at me for changes in my behavior like not studying, going to strange parties with a badcrowd the phone consular asked some more questions to find out if I had some threat or if someone was beating me. She said there were institutions that could help me. One that she mentioned was “The state inspectorate for protection of children’s right”.

The most common reasons for calling during the last year (2009) were relationships with others and relationships with parents. Mostly people are angry or desperate while they are calling, and their emotional condition is unstable, according to statistics. There are no available statistics figures of how many children call for help but google keyword tools showed about 320 monthly searches.

“It is very important issue to speak about,” said Aigars (a last year psychology student). “The situation in Latvia regarding emotional violence is a serious topic and mostly people just don’t solve it. In general, there is an opinion that emotional problems are not problems, and we don’t have to deal with them.”

Of course children and teenagers are easily influenced therefore it is so important to have professionals work with them. The phone services and school social workers are part of the effort in Latvia to reach them.

Copyrights of the photo to Greg Desiatov

2 Comments leave one →
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