April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month which is a month aimed at raising awareness about the issue of child abuse throughout America. At Highland-Clarksburg Hospital helping children who have been abused is a daily occurrence.
"I would say probably 75% of the children we see have had some experience with abuse or neglect or some type of dysfunction or violence in their past, and that can be very traumatic and create emotional or behavioral difficulties or exacerbate the ones that already exist," said Christina Lipscomb, therapy and social services director at Highland-Clarksburg Hospital.
The adolescent unit of Highland-Clarksburg Hospital has been open since last August, since then it has helped children with a wide range of behavioral and emotional problems.
"We serve children ages five through 17 and those would be for general psychiatric needs. If there is self-harm, aggression, behavioral and emotional disturbances, children and adolescents who may be suicidal or homicidal," Lipscomb said.
Lipscomb said helping children who have been abused is a daily task at the hospital, not just during April.
"Our focus is really to stabilize the patients. We identify what those immediate needs are in terms of risk and safety, and then we help try to identify the emotional and behavioral needs, what's going on with the patients and what are the issues they're having," said Lipscomb.
Lipscomb said the staff at the hospital also help the children by providing activity time.
"They have at least an hour of recreation time every day. That's a therapeutic activity where they do have to learn to interact with other kids, social skills, teamwork, problem solving, coping with stress that might arise during the activities if they get frustrated or are having trouble," explained Lipscomb.
As part of Child Abuse Prevention Month, Highland-Clarksburg Hospital will hold a flag raising ceremony on Friday at 2 p.m. which is open to the public.
Anyone who attends will receive a blue ribbon to continue to promote the month.
If you would like more information you can call Shannon Putnam at 304-969-3100.