The “Goldilocks and The Bear Foundation” provides mental health services to children in disadvantaged communities; during COVID-19, they have done webinars to support families in need.
South Africa (1 July 2020) – Lockdown has imposed many physical barriers and frustrations, but what is often not mentioned are the mental health consequences of a worldwide pandemic. The consequences include the worsening of pre-existing psychiatric conditions or the new onset of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. These consequences are exacerbated by a lack of interaction with friends and increased levels of parental stress, family conflict and domestic violence.
With this in mind, the Goldilocks and The Bear Foundation (#gb4adhd), a registered NPO/PBO that provides mental health services to children in disadvantaged communities, decided it was time to get creative and find a new way to reach the community and offer mental health support.
Being unable to provide face-to-face services to children and communities during the lockdown, #gb4adhd approached volunteers and community-based organisations to collaborate in providing new “COVID-friendly” services.
Goldilocks and The Bear Foundation deems it crucial to raise awareness about mental health and decrease the stigma around psychological difficulties. Therefore, the Foundation provided free webinars on a variety of mental health topics (ranging from ADHD and parenting advice to teenage mental health and hair-pulling disorder).
These were hosted by a range of dedicated volunteers including psychologists and psychometrists. The Foundation received many positive responses such as “I tried not to nod my head for everything, but everything was so nod-worthy” and ignited requests for additional free mental health resources. These webinars are freely available and accessible on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQJv9IWuk08GFsKc0dj1BcQ)
As some communities do not have easy access to the internet, and therefore the webinars, the Foundation partnered with other mental health professionals to create a series of easy-to-understand mental health tips and strategies to help parents and children to cope with the lockdown. These were distributed throughout various communities in the Western Cape. If you would like your own copy, send an email to email@example.com.
Furthermore, through a partnership with the South African College of Applied Psychology, #gb4adhd brought three counselling students on board to offer telephonic counselling to children, teachers and families from the schools that in which the Foundation has provided services. These services were specifically welcomed for those children identified through the Foundation’s screening as being particularly vulnerable and in need of counselling and emotional support.
In order to keep the Foundation going, various exciting fundraising and awareness initiatives were offered to keep people busy and engaged during the lockdown. These included a group of amazing athletes from all over the country, who competed in a “Lockdown Two Oceans Marathon” running countless laps in their driveways, gardens and houses to raise awareness for mental health in children and raise funds to support mental health services. Most recently the foundation hosted an online quiz night with families from as far as Canada and the UK joining in to test their general knowledge. Together these initiatives raised R39 000.
The Goldilocks and The Bear Foundation, previously featured by Good Things Guy in 2019 (following their release of their best-selling book “All of these things are important to me”) was founded by Prof Renata Schoeman (psychiatrist) and Mr Nic de Beer (entrepreneur and athlete) who have a passion to help children through focusing on the impact of mental health on children’s education.
The Foundation provides screening of children for mental health difficulties, as well as a host of other services, such as free educational assessments, eye and hearing tests, occupational therapy and counselling through a volunteer network. They are also passionate about psychoeducation and provide free training on ADHD and mental health in children for teachers, parents and other community organizations.
If you would like to get involved or support the Goldilocks and the Bear Foundation please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, contact Nic de Beer on 078 920 3919 or find more information at www.gb4adhd.co.za