The Mental Health Awareness children’s card game, Book of Beasties is celebrating the ‘massively positive response’ to its 500 Smiles Campaign; having delivered more than 300 kits to schools across the UK in support of the mental health of pupils around the country.
The success of the campaign, states the team behind the card game and its most recent initiative to tap into UK schools, is representative of the increased awareness and engagement in issues of mental health and mental wellness in children and students. Each of the 300 kits delivered through the campaign represents one school to have joined the initiative.
“When we multiply that by the average pupil population of a Primary School in the UK, it begins to show how many children we are beginning to reach over just a few months,” Oisin Bishenden, chief executive officer, Book of Beasties, told ToyNews.
“We are providing a vehicle through which engagement and concern, from the community of educators, can be converted into a psychologist endorsed, simply implementable (from a school and class level perspective) and cost effective format – that most importantly works and resonates with young people.”
Buoyed by the success of the 500 Smiles campaign, initiated in March this year in response to growing concerns from those in the education sector over the impacts on children’s mental health that the pandemic would have, the Book of Beasties team has detailed a number of further plans to add to the rising movement towards bringing Mental Health Awareness into the national curriculum.
Bishenden continued: “Alongside the continued academic validation study we have in place to confirm the pilot verification of our unique method of developing Emotional Literacy through play, we plan to extend our intervention to every MP in the UK to allow our political representatives to see the simple, cost effective but most importantly result-led tools that can be used to tackle the growing Mental Health crisis in UK schools.
“We have also developed a Parents’ edition of our Mental Wellness Card Game to allow parents to independently, and in conjunction schools where policy is in place, bridge the gap of understanding the pressures their children face in a world that is very different to how it was two years ago – along with those that remain from the lockdown period itself.”
Book of Beasties has also outlined its strategy to push the concept of ‘play as the most appropriate way to approach mental health.’
“Talking about platitudes on the wider scale can help raise awareness, but we are firmly set on dealing with the tangible stresses and strains that face our pupils,” said Bishenden. “To use the terms of an adult world and a formal context is to put a child out of their comfort zone; but to translate it into appropriate language and raise discussion through play is to work towards the same goal, but in conditions that maximise their communication.”