Outreach, Welfare

A Holistic Approach to Helping Those Impacted by Adverse Life Experiences

A Holistic Approach to Helping Those Impacted by Adverse Life Experiences

Many of you may have come across distressing news of children being abused or neglected. You may even know of children within your own community who have been affected by traumatic life events such as their parents’ divorce or marital conflicts.

These events are known as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), typically occurring from birth till the age of 18. Recent statistics suggest that child abuse cases are on the rise1, while two out of three adult residents in Singapore have faced ACEs2.

Trauma-informed care for Families and Individuals

In recent years, the interventions of Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) have focused on addressing the impact of ACEs on our clients. MWS Family Service Centres, for example, have adopted a trauma-informed approach to serve our clients, most of whom have experienced traumatic events such as abuse and violence when they were children, or were recently exposed to divorce, accidents or the sudden demise of loved ones.

Our professional staff are guided by five foundational principles of trauma-informed care when they engage clients: safety; trustworthiness; choice; collaboration; and empowerment.

At MWS Girls’ Residence (GR), 80 per cent of the young women had experienced four to seven ACEs at the point of entry. Upon their admission, every girl is given an individualised care plan to meet her specific needs. They are placed in a holistic trauma-informed therapy programme that considers the insights and impact from trauma.

Preventive Intervention

MWS has also been developing services and programmes aimed at preventing ACEs from happening. One such initiative is the MWS Family Support Programme (FSP), which reaches out to parents who need support in managing issues with their pre-teen and teenage children.

Launched in October 2019, one of the key services that MWS FSP offers is the Positive Parenting Programme (Triple P). A team of MWS Family Life Educators run Triple P to counsel and empower parents with simple and practical strategies to help them build strong and healthy relationships with their children. These strategies help parents to manage their children’s behaviours and prevent problems from developing in the future.

Empowering life to the Full

These positive interventions ultimately aim to empower the vulnerable we serve and make a sustainable difference in their lives.

Regardless of when we positively intervene in the lives of those who have experienced adverse life events, we pray that we are able to guide them out of the darkness, put them on the right path to recovery, and give them hope for a brighter future.

1 MSF Child Abuse & Protection Statistics (updated Apr 2020). Retrieved from https://www.msf.gov.sg/research-and-data/Research-and-Statistics/Pages/Child-Abuse-Investigations.aspx.

2 Singapore Mental Health Study 2016, led by researchers from Institute of Mental Health, Ministry of Health and National University of Singapore.

Pull-out Bible Verse
“I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy.” Psalm 140:12

To find out more about trauma-informed care, check out Uncommon Voices Issue 1/2021 at mws.sg/publications or scan the QR code.

Get to know MWS

To find out more about the various programmes and services mentioned in the article, scan the QR code or log on to mws.sg.

By the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) Communications Team / Visuals courtesy of MWS