The Book of Beasties, a London-based start-up and team behind the mental wellness card game of the same name, has committed to providing up to 500 schools with free mental health support to better help children through the current coronavirus crisis.
The move follows research conducted by the children’s mental wellness game developer that found that 86 per cent of teachers and parents felt the Government wasn’t doing enough to support them in addressing mental health with their children.
The survey uncovered that 78 per cent agreed that children’s mental health had been neglected in the Government’s resopnse to the pandemic and the lockdown restrictions it had implemented through school closures.
In response to these findings, Book of Beasties is aiming to reach over 141,000 children by donating games and training worth over £30,000 to some of the city’s most underfunded areas.
This new incentive, which has been dubbed the 500 Smiles Crusade is part of the Playful Minds campaign, which is calling on the Government to increase funding for playful mental health provision for schools and parents, and launched to coincide with children’s return to school last week.
The social distancing measures and tier 4 restrictions have put children under immense amounts of pressure, which is taking its toll on their mental wellbeing. A Young Minds study found that 83 per cent of young people had said the pandemic made their mental health worse.
Playful Minds has raised concerns that the length of time that the restrictions have been in place will likely result in ‘a mental health crisis that could last for years to come.’
Book of Beasties has said it is focused on improving the wellbeing of children through the use of playful and creative learning to raise emotional literacy, teach empathy and encourage open conversation about mental health.
The survey also found that more than 95 per cent of respondents agreed that children’s mental health would greatly benefit from the increased use of playful learning methods.
Following the successful launch of a new platform to provide teachers and parents with easier access to digital mindfulness and mental wellness learning materials, Book of Beasties partnered with Great Ormond Street Children’s Charity to help support the hospital’s play team.
Phil Tottman, CEO and co-founder of Book of Beasties, said: “While our crusade is a drop in the ocean, we hope it will highlight the dire need for better mental health support in schools and put pressure on those who can make a difference to do so.
“We are a small company, but our primary focus is to improve the wellbeing of children nationwide, especially following such an adverse year. If that means giving away our resources for free so people can benefit from them then so be it. We couldn’t be more honoured to be helping in such a way.”