Dramatherapy sessions create a safe space to explore difficulties and trauma, and support children by helping them reduce anxiety and other mental health issues.
Statistics show that one in ten children, an average of three in every classroom, has a diagnosable mental health problem, with 75% of mental health problems in adults having their roots in childhood.
Evidence from practice shows that dramatherapy activities help children to build trusting relationships, improve self-confidence, develop communication skills and social interaction, encourage self-advocacy, work with the imagination, explore feelings and develop creativity.
In addition teachers report that attending dramatherapy changes behaviour in class, particularly towards school work, in terms of improved attitude and motivation.
Embedding dramatherapy support into schools means that early intervention is available for children who need this therapeutic support to enable them to access and make the most of their engagement with the school curriculum.
From the latest report from the Children’s Commissioner “The state of children’s mental health services” (published 30th January 2020):
Despite significant improvements over the past two years, too few children are getting help and those that do are waiting too long. There is a postcode lottery in terms of improving services, meaning some areas are years ahead of others.
The 2017 prevalence survey of children found that 12.8% of children aged 5-19 in England had at least one ‘mental health disorder’. This means that, at any one time more than 1 million children in England will have a mental health disorder.
Overall, the survey tells us that at any one time, one in eight children has a ‘mental health disorder’.
Support is also needed for some children who have not reached this clinical threshold. The Department of Health’s working estimate is that for every child who has a ‘diagnosable condition’ there will be a child with a ‘pre-diagnosable condition’ who might also benefit from some help.
Amongst this group, the Children’s Commissioner is particularly concerned about those children who might loosely be deemed ‘vulnerable’ because of their family background: those children from families experiencing issues such as severe poverty, domestic violence and poor parental mental health.
Click here to read a dramatherapy case study about Barney.
Children growing up in these circumstances are more likely to experience adversity and trauma, which has been shown to impact on their emotional development and can in turn lead to challenging and destructive behaviour, and even lead to diagnosable mental health conditions in later life. It is vital these children receive help, to minimise the impact of this behaviour on their education, home-life and quality of life