News

News

Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone, of any age, of any background, at any time.
 

 
This is an issue that children and young people have to deal with, the same way adults do.
 
It can be difficult to know if a child is suffering as they often keep it to themselves. But what causes these morbid thoughts?
 
Suicide occurs when someone purposely takes his or her own life. A suicide attempt occurs when someone tries to take their own life but does not succeed.
 
The person who survives may have serious injuries such as brain damage, broken bones, and organ failure.
 
The survivor may also have depression or other mental health issues. While suicidal ideation occurs when someone is thinking about taking their life.
 
There are various internal and external factors that causes children to have suicidal thoughts.
 
Some children may feel like there is no hope and see ending their lives as the last resort to dealing with whatever situation they are going through. 
 
Whilst thinking about suicide is relatively common, not every child or young person will actually attempt to take their own lives however, even having suicidal thoughts shows that someone is struggling and needs help and support.
 
It can be difficult to understand what causes suicidal feelings but they are often triggered by upsetting experiences such as living with mental illness, experiencing constant trauma and abuse, being bullied which is overly common these day, sorrow after losing a loved one or having very low self-esteem. 
 
Depression and severe anxiety can have a serious role to play in the matter.
 
Everyone feels down sometimes, but depression is more than this.
 
Being depressed is more than just the ‘blues’. People with depression feel dejected for long stretches at a time – and this can be experienced children as well as adults.
 
Similar with anxiety; everyone feels nervous from time to time, but some people find it harder to control anxiety.
 
Children and young people can find it especially difficult to express their feelings and open up to others.
 
If they are suffering from depression they may feel like there is no hope and find it difficult to imagine ever being happy again.
 
Or, if they are highly anxious they may be even more worried about talking to someone about how they feel.
 
Mental health issues is not as taboo as it once was and matter of fact more people are now becoming aware of the reality and the severity of this however all children are different which means that the signs are also different but some of the most common signs of mental health problems in children include becoming withdrawn from friends and family, persistent low mood and unhappiness, worries that stop them from carrying out day to day tasks, sudden outbursts of anger directed at themselves or others and loss of interest in activities that they used to enjoy just to name a few. 
 
According to the director of Psychology and Counselling at the National Council for Children (NCC) Gerard Lim-Sam, if a child shows up with certain suicide ideation, there is problem assessment that is carried out by the counsellor or psychologist to assess the frequency of thoughts to see how severe the matter may be. 
 
However, the collection of reliable data on the number of suicidal attempts by children remains a challenge for NCC due to inadequate human resource, however the NCC offices remain open every day from 8am to 4pm to assist children and their families in talking things over and redirecting them to getting further professional help if required.
 
We need to make sure that every child has a place to turn to – night and day when the world gets overwhelming.
 
If your child is struggling with their mental health or having suicidal thoughts, it is bound to have a big effect on you and the whole family.
 
Discovering your child is feeling suicidal can feel quite overwhelming therefore it is important to make sure that you also get all the support you need from friends and family and professionals.
 

News

  • Whether it is in our professional or our personal lives; each and every one of us thrives to be successful. We sometimes set targets and want to achieve them right away but, we are human and we may at times fall short on those goals.
     

     
    Success, despite popular societal beliefs, is not a one way street or a straight line; it is a cluttered road with plenty of dents with various ups and downs but, the key is to not give up regardless of what obstacles presents itself; and that is perseverance. 
     
    This year, the National Council for Children initiated the ‘Perseverance Campaign’; a yearlong movement aimed to reach all secondary pupils, with the aim of instilling the importance of diligence, commitment and the will to persevere in their studies, their lives and in the future, the working world.
     
    The initial launching of this campaign was done on the 15th February, 2019 at the Perseverance Secondary School. So far, the perseverance torch – a symbolic representation of perseverance, has been in four Secondary Schools namely Perseverance, Independent School Seychelles, English River and Beau Vallon.
     
    The Chief Executive of NCC Jean Claude Matombe often reiterates, the campaign falls well in line with this year’s national theme ‘Kiltir Travay Dir’.
     
    Matombe highlighted in one of his speeches that despite adversities and hardships, we can only succeed by never giving up. 
     
    “Perseverance is doing something in spite of obstacles, despite how hard it may be or how long it takes. Success comes to those who persist with consistent determination, which means to persevere, it is essential to put effort into everything we do,” said Matombe. 
     
    NCC’s aim for the rest of this year and up to next year, is to bring the campaign, its concept and essence at the reach of every Secondary School across Mahe, Praslin and La Digue as well.
     
    The President’s Village is next in line to take the perseverance torch from Beau Vallon School which is then expected to be brought to the Anse Boileau Secondary at the beginning of the first term of the School year in 2020 to continue with the campaign. 
     
     
  • Representatives of the National Council for Children, NCC, met with the Committee of Women Parliamentarians in the National Assembly recently, to discuss issues affecting children and ways that the committee members can assist and partner with the Council to improve the well-being of children in Seychelles.

    The meeting held at Ile du Port was chaired by Honorable Chantal Ghislain and was attended by Honorable Regina Esparon, Honorable Sylvanne Lemiel, Honorable Noline Sophola and Honorable Flory Larue.

    “The meeting comes at an opportune time, as we are currently reviewing the implication and application of corporal punishments in the country, in accordance with International laws,” states Jean-Claude Matombé, the Chief Executive Officer of NCC, adding that the response from the parliamentarians were very positive.

    “We now know that we have the support of the committee in whatever we do as a Council and as an organisation, working for and with children in the country.”

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    The Committee of Women Parliamentarians, is a Standing Committee of the National Assembly with the role of carrying out follow-ups on the compliance of the National Assembly and Government, in matters pertaining to women and men.

    In that respect, Matombé says in the meeting NCC also stressed on the importance of the parliamentarians supporting programs geared towards men and boys.

    “If we do not tackle the issue of involvement of this group, we will not see a difference in our society,” says Matombé.

    Following the meeting, NCC says the Committee of Women Parliamentarians will be partnering with them in various activities geared towards parents and visits of facilities for vulnerable children in the society.

    The first of such exchange will be held during the upcoming Child Protection week which will be held from 1st till 8th June.

  • After months of planning, the children residing in The President’s Village, located at Port Glaud, finally embarked on a first trip to Praslin and La Digue on 11th of January.

  • An underrated few words that hold more truth to it than one can simply contemplate. Bringing up children has always been easier when done collectively. It is important for us to see all children as our children and in turn help them to grow up in safer environments.  
     

     
    In the light of this, various organisations are now pledging to be more and better involved in the lives of the residents of the President’s Village. 
     
    Recently, the Ministry for Habitat, Infrastructure and Land Transport (MHILT) joined with the National Council for Children at the President’s Village for a fun day activity to commemorate habitat week.
     
    To start off the day, the MHILT team and the NCC team - including the residents, were separated into four groups for a bit of cleaning and landscaping around the premises. 
     
    The very dynamic participants wasted no time in getting into their respective groups as they went straight to tackling the different tasks they were assigned to around the village.
     
    The main aim of the day was volunteering and giving back to this part of the community and the residents but also to spend time with them.
     
    After a whole morning of cleaning up, everyone wanted to unwind and get to know each other better and what better way to have done that than with different sports activities that everyone could join in on and enjoy.
     
    From dominoes to volleyball, football and a bit of running around the playing field; both the adults and the kids were more than happy to partake in friendly competitions among their respective groups to see who would come out victorious at the end of the day. 
     
    The Minister of MHILT Pamela Charlette said in her vote of thanks that; “the residents of the President’s Village are our children too, and this is not the first time nor the last time that we visit them. We will keep the good relationship between the two institutions and collaborate in future activities.” 
     
    In the future, we are urging for other partners to join with NCC to make the lives of the residents at the village more interesting and exciting.  
     
  • A group of 16 children from various primary and secondary schools will be leaving the country on Saturday to participate in the International Children’s Festival in Samsun and Ankara, Turkey.

  • It is a common knowledge that Residential Care Homes are for children only. Hence, upon reaching the age of 18, many of the residents of The President’s Village, located at Port Glaud, will have to leave the facility.

  • Caregiving is something which flows for natural-born caregivers. The actions can of course be taught but not the compassion and the empathy; those are gifts and not everybody has these gifts. Nurturers have a special bond with those they care for. 
     

     
    Rita Antat is a former social worker turned counsellor after having worked with the social services for over 25 years.
     
    She currently works as the senior counsellor with the National Council for Children (NCC), at the President’s Village where she has been based for the past six years, she is known as Miss Antat or Miss Rita amongst the staff and children.  
     
    Antat describes herself as a natural caregiver and says that her love for children came from the love she got from the people who raised her.
     
    “I lost my mother at a very young age and the people I grew up with gave me the type of love and care that I wanted to just give back to the community; especially children,” she said.
     
    In her 25 years as a social worker before joining the President’s Village, she worked with different families.
     
    When asked if she has ever been discouraged while on this path, she explained that at times she has felt like forfeiting and she probably would have if she listened to the people around her instead of the voice of the children whom she was meant to help.
     
    “It is the kids, they keep me going. True, sometimes it gets heavy and but at the end of the day I always keep an open-mind and say to myself that I am doing this because these children need me. Besides in my professional career, I have opened my door at home for many children to find solace. I have been a mother, an aunt, a mentor to many children whom I am proud of today,” shared Antat. 
     
    She went on to add that none of this would have been possible had it not been for the undying support of her family which on its own helped her to remain firm in her choices
     
    To work in an institution that helps children has always been the goal for Antat, and when the opportunity presented itself to permanently join the President’s Village – which was then still under the management of the Children’s Foundation, she grabbed it with both hands. 
     
    Her alternative career choice had she not been a social worker would have been to teach and this is something that Antat described to be close to her heart even to this day.
     
    “I love working with people, I love seeing the transformation in people and how they turn their lives around. It brings me a sense of satisfaction,” she proudly said.
     
    Rather emotional, she disclosed that sometimes it pulls at her heart when people do not take the time to understand and comprehend the needs of our children, but she also added that not everyone has the vocation for this work but it was okay because we all have our passions. 
     
    Her advice to young people planning to venture into this field of work is to go for it but only if their hearts are in it completely.
     
    “We often hear people say that to work with children is a vocation and I could not agree more, it is not for everyone but if your heart is screaming yes do not turn away from the calling, go for it,” she concluded. 
     
  • Two months after it was launched at Ile Perseverance Secondary school, the Perseverance campaign, an initiative of the National Council for Children, (NCC) has been officially adopted in the Independent school.

  • The view that fathers are not interested in their children’s well being and education may be misleading on many fronts.

  • Seychelles along with many other countries have taken a stance to ban corporal punishment of children. It is just a matter of time, soon it will be illegal to hit your child within your private homes. 
     

     
    The Seychelles will join countries such as Ireland, Lithuania and Slovenia in banning corporal punishment of children in private homes. This decision has been long on going and one which has stirred up many debates amongst the public, especially parents coming from traditional families. 
     
    To facilitate this decision making, a series of consultative meetings are being held across the country for the parents and the public in general to share their opinions about the ban which will soon be implemented. This is an initiative of the National Council for Children (NCC) in collaboration with the department of Social Affairs within the ministry of Family Affairs. 
     
    The first meeting was held on Wednesday, 21st August at the International Conference Centre of Seychelles (ICCS) where those present were able to give their opinions about the expected ban on corporal punishment in private homes.
     
    Initially, there were to be regional meetings for the public but according to the Chief Executive of NCC, Jean-Claude Matombe, they have changed their approach and will therefore hold meetings with parents who have kids in the different schools after the holidays. 
     
    “We need to get the take of parents on the matter as there are still a lot of conclusion on what corporal punishment is and how it differs from that of disciplinary measures. However, it is still a question of cultural influence that some parents still find it necessary or ‘useful’ to hit their child but hitting is not the answer, we need to break that sequence.”
     
    He went on to add that “After a cycle of abuse, children who are hit or beaten by their parents might start hating themselves thinking that they are doing something wrong or that there is something wrong with them. We need to tell parents in general that ‘hitting people is wrong and children are people too.”
     
    Studies show that the current acceptance physical punishment helps to cause more serious child abuse and children who are hit by their parents learn that violent solutions are acceptable as violence breeds violence. 
     
    Mr Matombe stressed on the fact that more emphasis will be put towards education for parents and teachers equally. “There is a need to know how parents feel about sanctions such as mandatory attendance of parenting classes, stress and anger management workshops, and community work or in extreme cases - prison sentencing.  
     
  • Crew members of the HMCS Regina paid a visit to The President’s Village today, as part of their port call in Victoria.

  • Students of Beau Vallon primary school have pledged to spread the message of Peace on International Peace Day.

  • To celebrate Youth Festival week, the 16th cohort of the Seychelles National Youth Assembly (SNYA) teamed up with the National Council for Children (NCC) for a day of planting, sports and games at the President’s Village.

  • Upon taking the management of the village late last year, the National Council for Children, NCC, inherited 30 children in permanent care at The President’s Village located at Port Glaud.

  • Creating a state orphanage was one of many dreams of Mrs Geva Rene, the Patron of NCC, for the children of Seychelles.  

  • A specialized clinic for children organised during the Child Protection Week by the National Council for Children, NCC, was so successful, that it had to be held twice, as too many parents turned out.

  • Not many people would give their life for the children of others, but 57 year old, Monique Louise, has been doing so for almost 31 years as a Child Support Officer at The President’s Village.

  • The National Council for Children will soon review its services in the Inner Islands so as to increase its visibility.

  • The Hope Choir made their first appearances at the annual music festival, last weekend, through the help of young conductor Julien Alexis.

  • Only two months in the New Year and one organisation has shown great interest in investing in the largest residential care homes for children in Seychelles.

  • The number of boys who were referred to counselling and psychology section of the National Council for Children have surpassed that of girls in 2017.

  • For many years, the National Council of Children, NCC have been conducting an annual week where the highlight is on the safety and protection of Children.

  • The National Council for Children is hoping to give a major facelift to The President’s Village in 2019, 32 years after it was erected.

  • A few days shy of the International men’s day, celebrated on 19th November, a group of brave men met at the National Council for children, NCC, with a hard task ahead; regroup and reform an action group.

 
Caregiving is something which flows for natural-born caregivers. The actions can of course be taught but not the compassion and the empathy; those are gifts and not everybody has these gifts. Nurturers have a special bond with those they care for. 
 

 
Rita Antat is a former social worker turned counsellor after having worked with the social services for over 25 years. She currently works as the senior counsellor with the National Council for Children (NCC), at the President’s Village where she has been based for the past six years, she is known as Miss Antat or Miss Rita amongst the staff and children.  
 
Antat describes herself as a natural caregiver and says that her love for children came from the love she got from the people who raised her. “I lost my mother at a very young age and the people I grew up with gave me the type of love and care that I wanted to just give back to the community; especially children,” she said.
 
In her 25 years as a social worker before joining the President’s Village, she worked with different families. When asked if she has ever been discouraged while on this path, she explained that at times she has felt like forfeiting and she probably would have if she listened to the people around her instead of the voice of the children whom she was meant to help.
 
“It is the kids, they keep me going. True, sometimes it gets heavy and but at the end of the day I always keep an open-mind and say to myself that I am doing this because these children need me.
 
Besides in my professional career, I have opened my door at home for many children to find solace. I have been a mother, an aunt, a mentor to many children whom I am proud of today,” shared Antat. 
 
She went on to add that none of this would have been possible had it not been for the undying support of her family which on its own helped her to remain firm in her choices
 
To work in an institution that helps children has always been the goal for Antat, and when the opportunity presented itself to permanently join the President’s Village – which was then still under the management of the Children’s Foundation, she grabbed it with both hands. 
 
Her alternative career choice had she not been a social worker would have been to teach and this is something that Antat described to be close to her heart even to this day.
 
“I love working with people, I love seeing the transformation in people and how they turn their lives around. It brings me a sense of satisfaction,” she proudly said.
 
Rather emotional, she disclosed that sometimes it pulls at her heart when people do not take the time to understand and comprehend the needs of our children, but she also added that not everyone has the vocation for this work but it was okay because we all have our passions. 
 
Her advice to young people planning to venture into this field of work is to go for it but only if their hearts are in it completely.
 
“We often hear people say that to work with children is a vocation and I could not agree more, it is not for everyone but if your heart is screaming yes do not turn away from the calling, go for it” she concluded.