Military children’s charity, Little Troopers, has secured funding from the National Lottery to launch a new Therapy Programme in England that will support the mental health and wellbeing of children whose parents serve in the British Armed Forces.
Delivered in collaboration with The Owl Therapy Centre, the tri-service Little Troopers Therapy Programme will open for referrals in October, offering a number of free one-to-one psychotherapy sessions and community therapy groups for forces 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.
One-to-one therapy sessions
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 CQC-approved therapy centre has more than 550 clinicians across England, so the sessions will be delivered face-to-face at the child’s home or in a local space agreed with each individual family. During the course, each child will explore their feelings and focus on a different topic each session including emotional regulation, uncertainty and change, relationships, resilience and life-story work. Referrals will open on 1 October and can be made directly by a parent, school, community group or welfare worker.
Group sessions for teens
The group sessions are aimed at military teens and will also be delivered in person by a qualified Owl Centre psychotherapist who will visit local youth clubs, cadet units, community centres, after-school clubs and other community groups. Group leaders will be able to apply for a session for up to ten children via the Little Troopers website from 1 October.
Louise Fetigan, the founder of Little Troopers, 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 and is a step-up in support from our charity, filling the 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 some of the unique challenges of Armed Forces life. It offers these children a safe space to share their feelings and experiences, recognise challenges they have gone through, help them to feel less isolated and alone and teach them practical ways to cope with challenges and change in the future.”
The National Lottery grant will enable the Little Troopers Therapy Programme to initially run for a period of two years, providing 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, said:
“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 that will be available to all military parents via the Little Troopers website offering them tips to support their children at home and advice on how to regulate their own emotions.
For more information, please visit www.littletroopers.net or email email@example.com