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Little Troopers Therapy programme launches on World Mental Health Day

We are so happy to announce that our new Therapy Programme is launching today on World Mental Health Day. The programme will help support the mental health and wellbeing of children whose parents serve in the British Armed Forces. 

Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, the tri-service programme will initially run in England for two years.  The programme will offer free one-to-one psychotherapy sessions and community therapy groups. The sessions will be delivered by qualified therapists from The Owl Therapy Centre and are aimed at children who feel particularly impacted by the challenges that military life can bring, such as having a parent deployed or moving home and school frequently. There will also be an on-demand session available for parents to help them better support their children at home.  

Louise, founder of our charity, explains: “We have seen a big increase in the number of military families contacting our charity worried about how military life is impacting the wellbeing of their child. Our last two annual Family Surveys also revealed a sharp increase in families wanting additional support. The Little Troopers Therapy Programme is something I have wanted to bring to fruition for some time. It is a step-up in support from our charity. It aims to fill a gap that exists between everyday support for military children that can be provided at home and in school, and crisis support already delivered through the NHS.  

“This early intervention programme is aimed at military children who are struggling to navigate the challenges of Armed Forces life. It will offer these children a safe space to share their feelings and experiences. They will get support to recognise the challenges they have gone through, help them to feel less isolated and alone. When they leave they will have learnt some practical ways to cope with challenge and change in the future.” 

Referrals can be made now via the Little Troopers website

One-to-one therapy sessions

These sessions will be open to any school-age military children from reception through to 18. The one-to-one therapy programme will include six hour-long therapy sessions with a qualified psychotherapist from The Owl Centre. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) approved therapy centre has more than 550 clinicians across England, so sessions will be face-to-face. The location whether at the child’s home or in a local space will be agreed with each individual family. During the course, each child will explore their feelings and focus on a different topic each session. They will cover emotional regulation, uncertainty and change, relationships, resilience and life-story work. Referrals have opened today, 10 October 2022 and can be made by a parent, school, community group or welfare worker.

Group sessions for teens

The group sessions are aimed at military teens and will be delivered in person by a qualified Owl Centre psychotherapist. They can visit local youth clubs, cadet units, community centres, after school clubs or other community groups. Group leaders can apply for a session for ten military children on our website from today, 10 October.

The National Lottery grant will enable the Little Troopers Therapy Programme to initially run for a period of two years. It will provide one-to-one therapy sessions for 100 children and 50 group sessions – benefiting a total of 600 children.

Nicola Lathey, Managing Director at The Owl Centre*, comments: “At The Owl Centre we are thrilled to partner-up with Little Troopers to provide this much-needed therapy programme for forces families across the country.  There has been a huge increase in referrals to The Owl Centre for our Mental Health and Well-being services generally since Covid, predominantly around anxiety. We have also seen an increase in referrals for military families, where one family member is about to be, or has been deployed, with families feeling the impact of this weighing heavily on their shoulders.  This programme will help to alleviate and manage some of the feelings and emotions these children and young people experience, and we simply can’t wait to get started.”

In addition to the face-to-face sessions, The Owl Centre has created an online video for all military parents. The video will offer tips on how to support children at home and advice on how to regulate their own emotions.

For more information, please visit our Therapy Programme page or email us.

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