Bris, the Swedish child helpline, has developed a national project called ‘Together for Children on the Move’ to provide long term support for children in transit. This includes running evidence-based support groups run by professionals, mobilisation of societal support agencies, and strengthening of networks for unaccompanied minors.
‘Children who have experienced war, trauma and who had to flee their countries is a highly vulnerable group who are in the risk-zone of mental health issues. Unfortunately, we have witnessed unaccompanied minors having their rights violated time and time again. We are very pleased that we can now offer long term support for this group of children with support and resources from the Erling-Persson Foundation,’ says Magnus Jägerskog, Secretary General of Bris.
Bris’ support group network has been operating for almost 15 years.
During 2015, 70,384 children arrived in Sweden. Half of these children were unaccompanied minors. ‘The situation for unaccompanied minors is undignified. Many different actors in society will need to contribute to support this group of children. This project enables Bris to both provide hands-on support to children and young people, and to mobilise societal resources,’ continues Jägerskog.
‘THE SITUATION FOR UNACCOMPANIED MINORS IS UNDIGNIFIED. MANY DIFFERENT ACTORS IN SOCIETY WILL NEED TO CONTRIBUTE TO SUPPORT THIS GROUP OF CHILDREN.’
Bris’ support group network is a method which was developed in collaboration with Red Cross Sweden after the tsunami disaster of 2004. Bris is currently offering targeted support groups to children who have lost a parent through suicide and to children in care. The purpose of these groups is to respect the child’s right to good emotional health and to try to prevent mental health issues later in life.