As some of you may know we give a percentage of money from sales of our Mighty Range of products to the brilliant children's mental health charity Place2Be. They work in schools offering counselling and emotional support to children who need it. One of our lovely indie business friends Beth Barber (from Doodlebot) has worked for the charity. She has written a great post for us about how her job as an art psychotherapist has helped give children the tools to become more resilient and allowed them to have a place to talk about any worries or issues that they have. Beth's story really highlights why helping children at a younger age can set them on a different and better path.
I am an Art Psychotherapist and have been for 12 years now. I originally completed a Graphic Arts and Design degree but did not have the confidence at the time to turn that into a career and it was before the days of Instagram! I became a support worker for adults with learning difficulties and this led onto me discovering the role of an Art Psychotherapist and deciding to go back to university to undertake a Masters in Art Psychotherapy.
Initially my work after qualifying was again with adults with learning difficulties and mental health issues but the themes of the work continually repeated “if only someone had got to me sooner”. This created a drive in me to focus my work on early intervention, on being someone who does get there sooner and is there to listen when children and young people are trying to say something. Place2Be gave me that opportunity.
I started by undertaking a placement as a psychotherapist with the charity and then succeeded in securing a permanent role within a primary school as a School Project Manager. I have now been in that role for 8 years and the children that are now in year 6 were in nursery when I began. Part of my work during my time here has been trying to reduce the stigma of talking about mental health. The children in our school don’t shy away from the service they actively seek out the support and utilise it effectively. It has become an integral part of the school that the children accept and embrace. We utilise creativity and play to help the children tell their stories and to build their resilience.
Doodlebot is my outlet for my own need for creativity. My illustrations again open up the conversation around mental health mirroring my role as a psychotherapist interspersed with doodles and portraits that make me smile. I enjoy the balance of the two roles and my work with young people also highlights the need for social media to increase the presence of positive messages and accounts amongst the negative damaging content that is so freely available.