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Family Centre sees surge in calls for help

The headquarters of Family Centre off King Street, Hamilton (File photograph)

A charity helping families has experienced a 50 per cent increase in calls from people who “can no longer suffer in silence”.

Sandy De Silva, the Family Centre’s executive director, echoed a recent statement by Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General, who linked the mental toll of the pandemic to spikes in family cases before the courts, juvenile criminal cases and domestic abuse protection orders.

Dr De Silva said struggling families were requesting therapy services from the charity, which offers free counselling to families with children aged 4 to 18.

She added: “We can also expect families to feel squeezed in a financial vice as the Minister of Finance warns that Bermuda’s financial outlook is deeply uncertain.”

The closure of schools amid soaring numbers of coronavirus cases added stress to an “already boiling pot of family challenges”, she said.

Susan Richardson, the charity’s counselling director, said parents of school aged children were already on “hyper alert for necessary, unplanned closures”.

“For families who live pay cheque to pay cheque, these changes further impact their financial stability. Daily routines become interrupted. Children and youth at home require attention.”

She said one parent had reported feeling as if “the walls are closing in on me”, adding: “I have become the centre of my children’s world and my grocery bill just increased. I don’t know how I’m going to pay the rent.”

Family Centre now offers confidential family counselling by Zoom or phone, as well as family group workshops.

The charity can be reached for help at 232-1116 or e-mail at info@tfc.bm.

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Published March 31, 2021 at 8:55 am (Updated March 31, 2021 at 8:56 am)

Family Centre sees surge in calls for help

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