How can I help my psychologically stressed child? Am I good enough as a parent? Where can I turn when I am at a loss? These are alarming questions, with which parents turned to the new counselling platform of Rat auf Draht, the Rat auf Draht Parents' Page, last year. "The past year was often unsettling for parents and many felt very helpless," says Corinna Harles, psychological director of Rat auf Draht Elternseite in Vienna.
Corona put families under pressure"Issues that were already stressful before the pandemic came to a head again in some families. Dealing with pubescents in particular presented parents with major challenges. The additional stresses caused by the absence of school, e-learning and uncertainty about Corona escalated existing problems. In counselling, we tried to take the pressure off and looked together to see what resources the family had," says Harles. Parents also sought counselling on the subject of mental illness in their children with alarming frequency. "We try to point out possible solutions and refer them to further support and clarification services." But even if their own problems seem less drastic, parents are welcome to get in touch: "We are there just as much for everyday questions and listen carefully," says Harles, "to the big and small challenges in everyday family life.
Great demand for helpOn Elternseite.at, parents and caregivers of children and adolescents can find informative articles, videos and podcasts as well as easily accessible online counselling. Parents appreciate how easily and at short notice they can book a counselling appointment via the online calendar. Many take advantage of counselling for the first time and are happy about the professional outside perspective and relief we offer," says Harles.
The success of the offer is also reflected in the figures: for example, the website was accessed over 120,000 times in the first year, over 100 professional articles were published and over 300 online psychological video counselling sessions were conducted. "We also have many ideas for the coming year. For example, we would like to integrate a group function on our site to create a space where parents can exchange ideas and support each other. More webinars and themed tracks are also in the works right now," says Harles.
About Rat auf Draht and the parents' pageRat auf Draht is Austria's most important emergency number for children and young people. It can be reached anonymously and free of charge around the clock from all over Austria at 147. The Rat auf Draht parents' page provides expert information and individual video counselling for parents and caregivers. Both services are financed by SOS Children's Villages mainly from donations.