Book of Beasties embarks on mission to provide 500 London schools with children’s mental health support

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.” 

Mental health brand Book of Beasties puts children’s wellness at the top of the learning agenda

A London-based Children’s mental health games developer has launched a new platform for parents and teachers offering access to multi-award winning mental wellness and educational resources that prioritise mental wellness across the curriculum.

Since publishing a series of free home learning kits to support children’s education throughout the COVID19 lockdown, the start-up, Book of Beasties saw nearly ten thousand downloads from families and schools worldwide.

Oisin Bishenden, ex-teacher and chief operating officer of Book of Beasties, said: “With the unique situation and risks to the mental wellness of children across the UK embodied by the closure of schools and other restrictions to social support networks that acted to safeguard against infection during the COVID-19 outbreak, we sought to provide free resources to support both parents and teachers in prioritising mental health across the curriculum.”

Recognising the need for easier access to mental wellness themed PSHE materials at home as well as at school, the team behind Book of Beasties: The Mental Wellness Card Game teamed up with fully UK trained teachers and experts to create new, focused content.

Each learning kit is a self-contained package providing hours of learning in both curriculum subjects and mental wellness exercises with cross-curricular links drawn as widely as possible. All of the learning has been dual designed to be delivered both at home and in the classroom to allow cohesion between parents and teachers in supporting young people.

Since its launch, Book of Beasties: The Mental Wellness Card Game has been recognised by healthcare industry awards, and used by thousands of children in the UK as well as in Ty Hafan Children’s Hospice, and Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital school.

Head of psychological services at Great Ormond Street, Mandy Bryon, said: “I am very impressed with Book of Beasties, I have not come across something so engaging for young children that enables ease of discussion about feelings in an acceptable and positive way.”

Oisin concluded: “By gathering the expertise of specialists and teachers from across the curriculum we built learning kits that were used across the English speaking world both inside classrooms and at home. Now we plan on building on this success to provide a more permanent solution to a large gap in education provision.

“Making it through the lock down period was only the beginning for our children; now the task of supporting them back into schools under the new normal begins.”

Book of Beasties’ subscription platform is now live after a very successful beta stage, with a special offer for early bird subscribers.