The DYS is tackling grief and loss among the nation’s youth
The Government of Belize hopes to expand its counselling services to reach youth who have lost a loved one or close friend to gun violence. Last weekend, 16-year-old Wellington Williams, a third-form student, was gunned down in Belize City. The minor’s death is expected to have a negative impact on his peers who may be grieving from the traumatic incident. Director of the Department of Youth Services, Kevin Cadle, says that the DYS has formed a grief and loss task force to assist in such instances. However, Cadle explained that the overwhelming number of young people who are in need of these services poses a challenge for the DYS.
Kevin Cadle, Director of Youth Services: “We have grieving mothers and you know Ms.Shakira Young is a part of that. She’s pushing towards that and wanting that to happen but like I said again it’s not just the Department of Youth Services that needs to get this approach done. This has to be a holistic approach. It has to be a multisector approach. It’s everyone that’s involved in the process, in the helping process that needs to come together to work together in unison for us to able to bridge this gap. So it’s a process and what we are going to do, like I said earlier, is that we’re going to do training of trainers in counselling and solutions focused grief therapy as well as mentoring and mentoring training so that young people could be able to help themselves, the community could be able to help themselves. I had spoken earlier to you about the fact that there’s only a limited amount of counsellors in the schools. One counsellor to approximately a hundred to two hundred sometimes three hundred students. In truth even with groups a perfect group is five, a counsellor can have a case load of about ten to manage if that much and that’s strenuous for one counsellor. So we want to continue to provide what is known as Post Traumatic Syndrome Counseling and Support Services to be able to help with what is called grief and loss but to do this we will need a comprehensive approach in terms of getting other players involved in the process. Schools, teachers, you know what I mean ? So everybody will need to come together so we’re working on it and I know I had asked the counselling services coordinator Ms.Pamela Dyer to start that process for us.”