The Inter-Agency Standing Committee Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (IASC MHPSS RG) has developed the Actions for Heroes, a guide to help children cope with COVID-related stressors.
It accompanies My Hero is You, How kids can fight COVID-19, which was published in March 2020. My Hero is You helped children understand, cope and adapt to the pandemic. It received global attention and was translated into 135+ languages along with numerous multimedia adaptations.
“When we first developed My Hero is You, we couldn’t imagine it would become a resource so widely used, with more than 135 translations and over 50 adaptations, by children and caregivers all over the world. This is a clear indication of how needed this type of support is by children globally. They are the true heroes who are coping with these extraordinary circumstances in an amazing way, and inspiring all of us with their daily strength,” says Carmen Valle-Trabadelo, Co-Chair IASC RG on MHPSS in Emergency Settings.
“With Actions for Heroes, we want to step up this support to families affected by COVID-19 and provide more strategies and resources for caregivers to contribute to the wellbeing of their little heroes.”
Actions for Heroes directs adults on how to have a heartfelt dialogue with children and to educate them about coping with COVID-19 related challenges. It is recommended that adults read the storybook with children. The guide not only explains how adults can create safe spaces for children to openly share their feelings about the virus, but it also directs adults on how to promote positive actions for children to protect themselves and others.
COVID-19 has changed the daily lives for children around the world. Many cannot attend school, and those we can have to follow restrictions and learn to socially distance. Comprehending these drastic changes can be difficult, especially for young children who often experience frustration and fear during the pandemic. Actions for Heroes supports parents, caregivers and teachers in empowering children to both express their feelings related to COVID-19, and to develop coping mechanisms in the face of the pandemic.The intervention was developed through a comprehensive consultation, and field-testing process among IASC MHPSS RG Members and in countries using My Hero is You.
If you are interested in translating the guide, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and Maya Bachet for coordination purposes.Sarah Harrison, Technical Advisor at the IFRC Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support, describes the making of My Hero is You and the lessons learned throughout the process.