April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the Mental Health Center of Denver focuses on five key areas to prevent child abuse and neglect.
A very small amount of child abuse is intentional or malevolent.
“It’s rare that parents actively hurt their kids,” said Shannon Bekman, Associate Director of Child & Family Outpatient Services. “It usually happens when parents are extremely overwhelmed and don’t have the support they need.”
So, what’s our approach to preventing child abuse?
We work with parents to:
- Enhance their knowledge of child development
- Provide concrete support in times of need
- Foster positive social connections with friends, family, neighbors, etc.
- Work on resilience
- Strengthen their ability to cope with the daily challenges of parenting and everyday life
“Parents need to know they can tell us if they’re feeling overwhelmed, and we can take proactive steps to prevent things from going downhill,” Shannon said. “And the kids we serve need to know we’re a safe place.”
What can you do if you suspect child abuse?
Call the statewide hotline, 1-844-CO-4-KIDS. The hotline communicates the concern to the appropriate county, and the investigative efforts are done from there. Although most calls are from health professionals, anyone can call the hotline with a concern.
“They want calls from anybody and everybody,” Shannon said.