According to the recent Childline review, 93% of counselling sessions were with 12 to 18 year olds compared to just 7% aged 11 or younger. The Mindfulness Project say they hope that, by tackling mental health at such a young age, the number of adolescents requiring support will decrease.
Ami Smallwood, a student occupational therapist and one of the organisers, talked about the importance of emotion through creative activities.
Ami Smallwood: "Children's main expression of emotion is through play so the activities we've chosen really kind of focus on creative play, engaging the children in an activity".
She said children's mental health is vitally needed in Hastings and, through this community event, it will teach them the mindfulness skills so this could be used in their everyday lives. Aiming this event at ages 8 to 11 supports the idea that intervention is better than cure and by giving the tools they need to deal with hard every day situations, they will continue to have these coping mechanisms into teenage years and adulthood.
It was a good turn out to the event with many children having a go at a variety of different activities including colouring and windmill making, allowing them to take away their creations. Feedback from the session was overall positive, with one parent commenting "Really lovely and useful event, great trainee OTs. Lots of different activities to engage the children and useful resources to take away".
Videos and audio clips are available on The Mindfulness Project website so the children don't have to leave mindfulness at the door. Looking back on Saturday's success, the organisers said they were thrilled to see their website figures increase.