Working with Bounce! Charity who donated over 200 Worry Yummies to less fortunate children. - Worry Yummy

Working with Bounce! Charity who donated over 200 Worry Yummies to less fortunate children.

Working with Bounce! Charity who donated over 200 Worry Yummies to less fortunate children.

Devon mental health charity, Bounce! have distributed the boxes to local schools to give out to children that may struggle with the transition back to school and to those in need.

The therapeutic care boxes, made up of colouring materials, stress relief toys and hot chocolate, also include a large cuddly ‘Worry Yummy’ monster – an innovative new toy with a zip-up mouth designed to “eat” slips of paper the child has written their worries on. Bounce! have also created custom postcards with positive messages that children can either send to a friend or display in their own homes.

Bounce! have been preparing for pupils’ return to the classroom since 22nd February, when the re-opening of schools was announced by Boris Johnson as part of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.  

Speaking from their new Tiverton hub, Bounce! Founder and Psychotherapist, Hayley Graham says:

“It has been wonderful being able to use some of our lottery funding to provide these boxes, which include a big fluffy Worry Yummy monster and some little bits and bobs to help children express their feelings and manage their stress – especially if they don’t quite have words for how they are feeling. 

“The key thing is that they can use these things as a bridge to talking to the adults around them; either a parent or carer or a teacher at school. We know that poor mental health comes from feeling alone and hopefully these boxes will spark a conversation that might help them feel less alone with all these big emotions, and to get some support to make sense of them and maybe even take some of the worries away.”

In a large study from July 2020, the NHS found that a staggering 1 in 6 children now have a probable mental health condition. We do not know what long-term consequences the pandemic will have on children’s mental health, but NHS figures show a rise in referrals to NHS services during Autumn 2020. The major disruption to two years of education, alongside limited opportunities to play, see friends and wider family, plus worries about the impact of Covid, has taken a heavy toll on children’s mental health.

Hayley Graham, says:

“Even before this crisis, the children’s mental health services in Mid Devon just weren’t able to meet the existing level of need, which was why we set Bounce! up. Over the last year we have seen a huge increase in families coming forward asking for support and we have been expanding the number of therapists we have by nearly 50% to meet the need. We’ve been providing check ins with parents and carers of children we have been seeing, providing online or virtual therapy and, where possible, continue to see children face to face in schools and now in our new Tiverton hub.”

Bounce!’s new premises on St. Peter Street is now offering face-to-face sessions for children referred by eight local primary and secondary schools, as well as to parents and carers who have been carrying a huge load whilst homeschooling and dealing with the stress of the pandemic. Bounce! also offers support to school staff, who they recognise have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic. 

Lottery funding means Bounce! is able to offer an additional 200 one-to-one sessions at the new premises.  

Bounce! is committed to helping children, parents, schools and the wider community deal with the current unprecedented mental health crisis caused by COVID-19 and in preparing for recovery in its aftermath.

Educational Psychologist and Bounce! Trustee, Alicia Balfour sums it up by saying:

“Whilst we are all delighted to be welcoming pupils back and a return to some sort of ‘normality’, it is highly likely that the level of underlying mental health problems will remain significantly high as a result of the pandemic. Charities such as Bounce! will have a huge impact on helping children, families and schools heal and recover.”