Border Partners sponsors a new program in Palomas that’s available to children now thanks to the generosity of our supporters. This post will introduce you to this important health initiative.
Palomas can be a very difficult place to live. There may not always be enough to eat on the table or heat in the house. Children may not understand why their parents are worried. And for almost two years, they were not able to attend school and see their friends.
Border Partners and these children are very fortunate to have Antonia Chayrez, a certified family counselor, on our staff. She can meet with children at the two primary schools in Palomas. Currently, she meets regularly with fifth and sixth grade classes to talk with them about understanding their emotions and using appropriate ways to express them.
Antonia believes that mental health is a state of mental well-being. Mental health allows human beings to face moments of stress in life. And it allows them to develop their abilities to the fullest as well as to learn properly. It’s both a fundamental human right and an essential element for personal development. It’s especially important for children to have the tools early to maintain their mental health, she asserts.
She introduces a topic like anger, sadness, loneliness or frustration to the children by displaying faces that show a corresponding emotional expression. Next, she invites children to choose one face and tell her when they have felt that emotion. Then she talks to children individually about why they think they felt that way in the situation. Through these conversations, she is getting a better sense of the children’s mental and emotional health.
She hopes to continue these meetings with the children so that she can help them recognize that emotions are a normal part of life. Learning ways to manage and express emotions appropriately is a key to having a happy, productive life.