Free service is caring for kids

Every night four-year-old Oscar settles down to sleep in his own bed and stays there until morning, is a night his parents breathe a sigh of relief and thank the Service at ProCare Mental Health Services.

Little Oscar had been suffering incredibly disruptive and distressing separation anxieties and sleep problems causing strain and stress for his parents every time they put him to bed or when his father Harry left for work.

But thanks to the ProCare health service, the family was able to access the expertise of clinical psychologist Dr Marija Radojevic who worked with them to ultimately teach Oscar to self-soothe at night and deal with his separation issues.

This gave his parents Juliet and Harry strategies and plans to deal with Oscar’s behaviour and become more consistent in their response to tantrums and anxiety issues.

‘We’ve seen big improvements in his behaviour and this service has definitely given me a lot more confidence in parenting,’ Juliet says.

The Egans are just one of the many families that have been assisted by the free service since it was established in 2016. So far, more than 500 client sessions have been provided to families in need because of the funding provided by Port Waratah.

ProCare provides counselling to children with a range of issues, which, if left undiagnosed and untreated, can affect a child’s learning capabilities, behavioural processes, anger management and social integration.

ProCare Chairman Nick Sovechles says Port Waratah Coal Services was on board with the Youth and Child Counselling Service from its beginnings, funding it to help establish the service, promote it to schools and like-minded community organisations and employ mental health professionals specialising in care for young people.

‘Access to the services we are now able to provide is the biggest issue in the wider community,’ he says.

‘The services of a clinical psychologist, although they can be expensive, it’s finding people who specialise in this area that’s difficult, and accessing the right care can be extremely difficult.

‘Our psychologists help families with everything from anxiety and phobias to family issues and peer and relationship problems.

‘We’ve had cases in which we involved other stakeholders, such as preschools and schools, to empower everyone in a child’s world with tools that assist in the day-to-day care of kids.

‘We are able to offer our services to families in need who may otherwise just continue struggling through their problems with potentially terrible flow-on effects. Early diagnosis and implementation of strategies empowers parents and children to reach positive outcomes.’

Not only does the service ease the load for individuals, it also goes a long way in taking some strain off the private and public health systems. With almost one half of Australians suffering from mental health issues in their lifetimes, the long-term benefits ProCare provides – such as quality of life improvements and greatly improved mental robustness – are immeasurable.

ProCare Child Counselling provides free professional counselling support for youth who are struggling with issues such as anxiety, bullying, depression, lack of self-esteem, family problems and peer relationships.

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