The mental health of children and young people is a growing area of focus for Noah’s Ark as awareness of the issue and the impact that emotional wellbeing can have on physical health continues to rise. Many of the young patients cared for by the children’s hospital suffer from chronic conditions like epilepsy, asthma, continence issues, heart conditions and allergies. Each of these can have a significant and often permanent impact on a child’s everyday life, causing them to feel anxious about the future, worried about potential treatment or sad because they feel different to their peers.
Thanks to your support, the Noah’s Ark Charity has recently been able to offer a helping hand to children like these by funding anxiety workshops called ‘Copecakes’. Delivered by the hospital’s psychology team, the workshops are designed to help children and carers develop coping strategies that help them to process and accept their feelings, while at the same time providing them with distraction techniques that engage the senses and as a result, reduce the physical feelings of anxiety.
Rachel says: “The children we see are aged between eight and 13 and have been referred to us by the psychology team to get some support with some of the emotional difficulties they’re facing. We do a variety of activities with them from creating sensory boxes, teaching breathing techniques and making ‘mindful jars’. They love working creatively to make their jars and it’s a very child focused way of introducing the idea of mindfulness to them. They shake their jars so the glitter and snow swirls around and then watch it as it all settles. We explain that the glitter is like their thoughts when they get worried or anxious and at those times it’s difficult to see anything else. But then when you give things time to settle a bit, the glitters still there in the jar but the water is calmer. It’s about accepting that the thoughts are there but not getting overwhelmed by them.”
One parent, who attended one of the workshops with their child said: “Thank you. “Being together with other children, and families, living with chronic health issues and anxiety was really helpful for my son. He felt comfortable and able to participate in a way he can’t with his usual ‘healthy’ peer group at school.”
£10 a month could help fund workshops for children and young people who are suddenly faced with the prospect of coming to terms with a chronic long term condition. Small monthly donations make a big impact to us as a charity. They help provide a regular, predictable income that we can rely on to plan ahead, allowing us to make long term commitments to the hospital and its families. If you’d like to become a regular giver, click here.