Blue Smile works in schools to help children who are struggling with mental health and wellbeing issues. The aim is to support the child to build resilience that will help them have happier childhoods, progress in school and achieve their true potential.
The Blue Smile approach uses art therapy, through which children are encouraged to explore difficult feelings and experiences they otherwise are unable to express. A financial award from The DM Thomas Foundation helped them buy essential equipment to help children like Ellie.
Ellie is an 8 year old girl who for many years had been withdrawn, a little isolated from her peers and selectively mute, even at home. Since this was obviously adversely affecting her academic progress and relationships, the Headteacher made a referral to Blue Smile. Children like Ellie can sometimes pass under the radar for therapeutic support because they do not draw attention to their problems by their behaviours.
Although Ellie was very anxious about coming to her first session and refused to speak to the therapist, she seemed intrigued by the art materials and toys in the room. Quite quickly she started using these to convey to the therapist what was going on in her life and it became clear that there was ongoing domestic abuse within the home. Ellie used the time to communicate her fears for her mother and to try and make sense of them.
Gradually, Ellie began to grow in confidence and teachers reported a new, smiling, engaged attitude in class and the playground. One day she came in to school saying, “I’m going to talk today”. She hasn’t stopped since and continues to thrive in a family which is grateful that Blue Smile’s intervention led them all to get the help they needed.
(All details have been changed to protect a child’s anonymity)
Blue Smile has received funding totalling £2,840 from DM Thomas Foundation since 2014.