Solentra creates hope and new dreams
Solentra is an aggregation of Solidarity and Trauma, but also stands for hope and new dreams.
Solentra is a non-profit organisation and part of PAika, the psychiatric unit of UZ Brussel (Brussels university hospital) for children and young people up to 18 years old.
We diagnose and treat migrant children and young adults who have fled their own country due to war. In case they fled with their families, we treat them as well. This often leads to complex psycho-traumatic issues and these war-related traumas are our area of expertise.
Our overall mission? To make mental health care more accessible and more efficient. Always and everywhere. We also function as a social enterprise. We consider health in the broad sense of the word, for psychological suffering and mental disorders are not just an attribute of the individual alone. They are also the sum of environmental and social factors.
This context has a crucial role in the well-being of the individual.
Experts in transcultural psychiatry
Solentra is an expert in transcultural psychiatry. We work with other organisations in order to create a healing society where individuals have a better chance at integration and achieving a sense of solidarity. To achieve this, we treat the traumas of children, young people and possibly families who have left their country of origin.
The migration process is especially damaging for young people and children, as it abruptly tears them away from the world they have always known. It can cause trauma that has a huge impact on different generations.
Culture, language and one’s social network are very important for the development of identity. If somebody is disrupted due to the migration process, this change can lead to a different development of the identity. That changing identity has a direct impact on the well-being of the family. That is why we take these factors into consideration when dealing with the prevention and treatment of emotional and behavioural disorders.
Solentra and the PACCT® method
The road to support is not always an easy one, for both the migrant family and the health professional.
Cultural and linguistic barriers as well as social-economic problems mean that only very few migrant families actively seek psychiatric help. However, this may cause children to miss out on important opportunities.
To make psychological support more accessible and efficient for members of our target group, we have developed a specific method: PACCT®. This stands for Psychiatry Assisting the Cultural diverse Community in Creating healing Ties. This is an out-reaching, close contact based and empowering methodology which respects cultural differences.
Read more on this topic in this article.
Strengthening and extending the safety net
Migration and adaptation to a new culture is a source of many uncertainties. Children often find themselves in the middle of two cultures, one culture being their parents’ and one being the new culture. To unite these two cultures and find a new balance between them often becomes an extra step in their development.
That is why we aim to strengthen and expand the safety net surrounding (im)migrant families, by:
- Mobilising (in)formal sources in the children’s direct environment, like neighbours, extra-curricular activity leaders, extended family, primary care organisations, neighbourhood organisations and school;
- Assisting support workers when they suspect a child is suffering from severe psychological problems.