The DfE report (Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools - DfE advice for school staff, 2016) mentions that between 72% and 83% of children receiving play therapy show a positive change.
Play Therapy - an effective way to improve the mental health of children
For some children who do not yet have the words or the understanding of emotions to explain to others how they feel, the non talking, creative therapies can be the key to helping the child make links between thoughts, feelings and experiences.
Play is a child’s language and toys are their words. Within the safety of the relationship with the therapist, play materials in the playroom encourage exploration and self-expression. The therapist responds and encourages sensitively allowing the child to gain a level of understanding at their own pace.
For many children the struggle to make sense of adverse experiences has a knock on effect on their relationships with family and peers, their academic achievements and their mental health. Play Therapy is a gentle yet effective technique which can lead the child on a life changing journey to a more hopeful and positive place. In play therapy children learn :
* To respect themselves
* That their feelings are acceptable
* To express their feelings responsibly
* To assume responsibility for themselves
* To be creative and resourceful in confronting the problem
* Self control and direction
* To accept themselves
* To make choices and to be responsible for their own choices
* To become more resilient and aware of their impact on others
Children and young people with a mental health problem
The DfE published advice to all schools acknowledging the increasing numbers pupils who were exciting mental health issues (Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools - DfE advice for school staff 2016). The extract below shows the extent of the problem families, adoptive parents, foster parents, schools and young people are facing.
" ... 9.8% of children and young people aged 5 to 16 have a clinically diagnosed mental disorder. Within this group, 5.8% of all children have a conduct disorder (this is about twice as common among boys as girls), 3.7% have emotional disorders, 1.5% hyperkinetic disorders and a further 1.3% have other less common disorders including autistic spectrum disorder, tic disorders, eating disorders and mutism. 1.9% of all children (approximately one fifth of those with a clinically diagnosed mental disorder) are diagnosed with more than one of the main categories of mental disorder. Beyond the 10% discussed above, approximately a further 15% have less severe problems that put them at increased risk of developing mental health problems in the future".