Victim Services Division offers grief and stress training to employers

THE Victim Services Division (VSD) is encouraging employers to take advantage of its grief and stress management training sessions as a way of providing support to staff members.

The VSD, which operates under the Ministry of Justice, has a core mandate of facilitating healing and therapeutic intervention for victims of crime.

In addition to this core responsibility, the counsellors within the division are equipped to administer training sessions to help guide groups towards the tools, techniques and resources needed to aid the grief and stress management process.

Executive director at the VSD, Osbourne Bailey, told JIS News in a recent interview that there remains a need for grief and stress sensitisation.

“What has happened is because access is available [online] — we don’t have to physically go in — you can now organise a session from the confines of an office or even home. This also increases the amount of persons we can reach. So what you find is that the continuous reaching out to provide the service has not been cut and people are seeing the need,” he said.

Bailey said that while he does not connect the need for grief and stress counselling to the pandemic, he recognises that there are COVID-19-related stress.

“It has complicated person’s capacity to cope and I have been noticing in recent times, too, that quite a few persons, because of their economic challenges, have been reaching out for help. Persons are also speaking about the stress of remaining behind the mask and the distancing from persons and just handling their daily business with less time to do it because of the curfews, which are necessary,” he pointed out.

Outside of any stress that may be related to COVID-19, the division has been offering its usual grief management sessions as well as sensitisation on victim matters.

“We have been able to provide sensitisation training to the wider public, as we have been called so to do. So you do have institutions that at this point in time would want to deal with stress in general, grief in general or specifically related to something they are going through and also stress related to something specific. So we have been able to continue to provide that service,” Bailey said.

As it relates to the victim services, he said that the support provided not only helps to heal the effects of crime on the lives of victims, but also to prevent situations from escalating due to pent-up emotions.

“It’s not always necessarily crime-related, but it is a pre-emptive move because people under stress may very well find themselves frustrated and easy to fly off the handle and fall off the edge. So we do see it as a necessary means to continue to play our part in fighting COVID-19 from where we are,” Bailey said.


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