Youth Arts & Health Trust Offers Art Therapy Service For Young People

Youth Arts & Health Trust Offers Art Therapy Service For Young People

New funding has been secured thanks to Devon Community Foundation and the Lottery and we can now offer free or low cost arts therapy for children and young people aged 7 through to 25.

Who we are:

Back in 2016, ideas about the Youth Arts & Health Trust came about in discussion with arts therapists, arts practitioners and others who work with young people who have spent their lives witnessing the transformative effects of being involved in opportunities to be more creative.

A real drive behind the set up of our organisation is the importance of improving services for children and young people who are experiencing mental health difficulties in the UK.  Many of us have heard how it’s not just improvements in access to help that is so urgently needed, but also the range of help that is available, how quickly this can be offered, the quality of a service and it’s appropriateness for young people.

There is now a growing body of evidence that Arts Therapies and Arts in Health activities really works to enable people to develop new skills, confidence and resilience, leading to improvements in health and well being.  

We are really proud of how the Youth Arts & Health Trust now provides opportunities for young people, families and others at a time when they need it most, and especially our Arts Therapy Service for Anxiety and Depression.  All our Arts Therapists are fully qualified mental health care professionals and registered with the Health and Care Professions Council.  

Our vision and mission:

Our vision is that every child and young person has the opportunity to live a healthy, happy and fulfilling life.

Our mission is to provide high quality arts therapies and creative arts activities so children, young people and their families can develop their skills, confidence and resilience.

We aim to increase opportunities for those who are most in need, and in particular (but not exclusively) for children, young people and families experiencing disadvantage due to mental health difficulties.

Our Arts Therapies Service for Anxiety and Depression:

We focus our service on reaching children and young people experiencing anxiety and depression (mild to moderate mental health problems). 

Laura Blatherwick, Charity Director and Arts Therapist explains:

“Existing provision for this group is very limited in way of support from the local authority or NHS due to huge national pressures on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. The Devon Partnership NHS Trust does provide an anxiety and depression service, but this is only open to those 18 and above. There is very limited provision for children at earlier stages in mental health deterioration in order to prevent their well-being from worsening and build self-esteem and resilience. What we offer, which is not easily available or affordable for children and young people is arts therapy.  Arts Therapies is a type of psychotherapy which offers an alternative to talking-based therapies in that it also utilises non-verbal and creative approaches which can enable children who find talking difficult to find more creative ways of expressing themselves and recovering from their difficulties. We have frequent feedback from GPs, families and other referrers saying they really appreciate how we are filling a gap in provision. This is especially true for children who do not meet the CAMHS threshold. We are delighted to have recently secured funding to extend our offer to 18-25s also.  Accessing mental health support can be difficult and expensive for this age group.” 

arts therapy laura blatherwick headshot

About Laura Blatherwick:  Founder of the Youth Arts and Health Trust, Laura’s has a background in working with vulnerable young people in supported housing and qualified as an arts therapist ten years ago.  Her previous roles include the Clinical Lead for Arts therapies and Specialist Counselling for a South-West based NHS Psychotherapy Service.  She benefited from support from the School for Social Entrepreneurs in starting up the charity in 2016.  

Our impact:

The recent evaluation of our art therapy service showed a 70% reduction in anxiety and depression and 94% progression towards personalised goals named by the children and young people themselves. These goals included reducing self-harm, getting on better with friends and family, getting back into school or work, feeling less lonely, and being about to express myself better to other people.  

We find ourselves regularly working with children and young people who have experienced trauma and difficulties such as bullying, abuse, bereavement, family breakdown and others factors which can really effect their mental health and well-being.  We’re able to intervene early and help repair and build confidence and resilience.  

How you can get involved:

We would love your help with:

1. Raising essential funds to continue and develop our work. 

We have a constant waiting list and demand is growing.  We also need support to cover our core costs so we can offer more of our arts therapy sessions for free at the point of delivery.  Do you know a business who is interested in make a donation within their social responsibility plans?  or do you have time to organise a fundraiser with us?  

Donations can be made via our website

2. Spreading the word about the services we offer.

You can email us to request more information and a referral form

3. Talk to us about volunteering to help up operate, grow and reach the children and young people we most hope to connect with.

Here is a link to a film made possible thanks to verbatim testimonials from children and young people and volunteer actors.

Film-making kindly donated from Kyle Baker Photography:

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