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Mercy Corps plans trauma care for kids in Haiti

Haiti, January 21, 2010

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Lynne Terry

The Oregonian
January, 2010

Mercy Corps is gearing up to comfort 100,000 kids in Haiti who risk long-term trauma from the earthquake.

They've lost parents, friends and homes. Without treatment, they could sink into depression, turn towards aggression and suffer deep emotional scars.

Leaning on a program developed after 9/11, the Portland-based agency will train locals who are not mental health professionals to help children heal.

The Comfort for Kids programs includes trauma-training workshops for adults and a workbook that helps children tell their story of the disaster. Kids also get comfort kits, with items such as blankets, stuffed animals and books.

A Mercy Corps specialist, Griffen Samples, will go to Haiti on Sunday, with the goal of starting workshops in February.

"The sooner we can start the better," she said.

She'll be the 13th member of Mercy Corps to provide aid to the area. The agency, focusing on water sanitation so far, the agency starts today handing out high-energy biscuits at the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince.