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New therapy programme for military children

We’re so excited to announce that we have secured funding from the National Lottery for a new Therapy Programme in England. The programme will support the mental health and wellbeing of our little troopers.

Delivered in collaboration with The Owl Therapy Centre, the tri-service Little Troopers Therapy Programme will open for referrals in October. Through the programme we’ll be offering a number of free one-to-one psychotherapy sessions and community therapy groups for forces children. The focus will be for those who feel particularly impacted by the challenges that military life can bring.  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. We’re aiming to fill the gap that exists between everyday support for military children and crisis support already delivered through the NHS.

“This early intervention programme is aimed at military children who are struggling with the unique challenges of Armed Forces life. Moving home and going to lots of different schools takes its toll, along with Mum or Dad being deployed. The programme offers these children a safe space to share their feelings and experiences. It will help them to recognise challenges they have gone through, help them to feel less isolated and alone. They will also talk through practical ways to cope with challenge and change in the future.”

One-to-one therapy sessions

These sessions will be open to any military children from 4 through to 18 years old. 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 the sessions will be delivered 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 will open on 1 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 will be able to apply for a session for ten military children on our website from 1 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 will create an online video for all military parents. The video, which will be on our website in December, will offer tips on how to support children at home and advice on how to regulate their own emotions.

The video and referral forms will be on the Little Troopers website on the 1st October 2022.

 

 

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