While February emphasises the importance of love in our lives, for some children, thoughts of love also bring thoughts of loss.
Focusing on Children’s Mental Health Week which falls on February 7-13th, we caught up with Children’s Therapeutic Practitioner, Samantha Kelly to find out why creativity is so important for the healing process.
Samantha explains: “A younger child may not have the language to express their emotions. We give them access to creative ways to express their feelings, such as a big piece of paper and loads of different materials, or developing a book together which helps them create a narrative of their own story, maybe painting their grief and asking them what it looks like, what colour is it and what it feels like.”
Nobody understands how I feel, so it’s good to come here to talk about my feelings” – Child A
Speaking about the team’s creative work with children, Samantha says:
“We do the heart activity a lot with young people – it’s a very strong and visual message that the children can easily relate to. We start by talking about the term ‘broken-hearted’ and of course they will relate this to losing their loved one. We then ask the child to rip the heart up (they love that bit) and we talk about how this represents how they felt when they heard their loved one had died.
“They piece the heart back together and using band aids they write down people, pets and things that have helped them during their grieving journey. Slowly they can see that even though something really sad has happened, they have a big support network in their life to get them through challenging times. This is then something they take home and hopefully encourage conversations with the people in their life.”
I like to come here to talk about Mommy and Daddy” – Child B
Through the classes Samantha and her team run at The Hospice Charity Partnership, it has been proven that engaging in creative arts such as painting, drawing and writing can have an extremely positive impact on a child’s mental wellbeing. Below is a selection of art from children who have attended her workshops.
Some people don’t like to talk about Mommy in front of me which makes me angry because I will always have a Mommy even if she isn’t here anymore.” – Child C