Anna Bowyer - Play Therapist, Sibling Support Coordinator, Ty Hafan Children's Hospice
"I've been using the book of beasties for the last few months for my work in paediatric palliative care. I am a play therapist and have used this game both as part of my play therapy kit and for more directive therapeutic interventions.
"Although I have played it with a diverse age range (right up into the teenage years), with girls and boys of differing backgrounds, the results have always been the same: the young people catch on quickly, love testing out the the different ways to help the beasties and take comfort in the emotional distance that helping beasties gives when discussing mental health and resilience.
"Play Therapy utilises toys to project feelings and experiences onto until the young person feels safe enough to own those feelings for themselves: and this is exactly what happens through the use of this game.
"I would highly recommend this game to any one working therapeutically with children and young people either to use as a whole intervention plan or as an easy to turn to ad hoc tool. It's a safe way to discuss important aspects of health and wellbeing."
Dr Tony Bates - Professor of Psychology University College of Dublin
"What you've done is fresh and really creative. You've brought language to mental health that makes it accessible for young people. And rather than make symptoms the 'bad guys', which is what normally happens, you present them as 'beasties', each with their own needs and fears, and each needing compassion and comfort rather than trying to 'get rid of them'.
"I really think Book of Beasties is a revolutionary approach and it will change how young people think about their mental health for the rest of their lives."
Ross Morrison McGill - Teacher Toolkit UK
"Great story and fabulous resource."
Mae Harris - Year 3 teacher - Haseltine Primary Sydenham, London
"I'm really impressed by the way the team have invented a method of encouraging children to open up about their feelings and problems without making it seem too 'touchy-feely.' The fact that a game is involved means that those pupils who may feel reluctant to speak openly about their emotions don't even realise that they are doing it. In a group of older children, this led to some really thoughtful and eye-opening discussions.
The children at my school were so engaged and excited by the concept, they have been asking ever since when they'll be coming back!
The fact that 10% of children and young people (aged 5-16 years) have a clinically diagnosable mental problem, yet 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age shows that an initiative such as Book of Beasties is sorely needed for our children if they are to stand a chance of being emotionally functional, happy adults."
Sabina Sidhu - SENCO - Grange Primary, Ealing, London
"I have been thoroughly impressed with the Book of Beasties programme as it prepares children for positive mental health and well-being in a creative and child friendly approach. Phil and Tom, have carefully designed the Book of Beasties programme by taking in the needs of the children within the group to further personalise the programme and they also planned opportunities for assessments to measure progress in a child friendly and practical way.
The Book of Beasties programme has supported our children at Grange Primary School for Year 5 and Year 6 during a time of transition and change to new classes and secondary school, which can often be a difficult time for children. The children acquired strategies on how to manage and discuss emotions within a group setting by relating this to fictional characters. I have observed the sessions and noticed progress for children who became more open about discussing emotions and strategies on how to manage situations.
The activities are paced well and are based around engaging characters, which the children can relate to. In particular, the programme worked very well for children with Special Educational Needs and Disability, as regular breaks to complete yoga moves was incorporated within the sessions. The children are now familiar on how they can manage their emotions independently.
This programme is an innovative way to support children in recognising, discussing and managing their mental health and well-being. It has provided our school with the confidence to offer an intervention in this way and we are looking forward to Phil and Tom offering training support to target further children within the school.
Feedback from pupils and parents has been very positive and the impact has been noticeable.
Thank you to entire team behind the Book of Beasties and I would recommend this programme for other schools."
Harrison - 9
"Thank you so much for your club, as fun as it was, it still helped me with my anger issues. The club gave me thoughts that made me feel better. I recommend this to many children with issues such as lack of confidence because the cards are images of what a lot of children think they are, the other cards have things that help the beasties (us). It helped me and I’m sure it will help other children."
Krists - 11
"What I think about book of beasties. It was awesome experience like the best card game experience EVER!!!!! The best parts were the activities such as: boat racing and flying balloons – AND – not forgetting the game play, it was awesome, the best part.
I thank everyone who took part and everyone who made this possible."
"I would recommend the Book of Beasties because it is fun and it will help people with their problems eg. Anxiety and depression."
Dylan - 11
"I loved Book of Beasties because it gives confidence to speak up, talk about your feelings and it’s really fun. It really helped me to talk about my feelings. I really recommend it."
Abdalla - 9
"Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me. It has helped me with my problems. I would recommend this club to a lot of people that are having problems like depression and anxiety."
Niyah - 10
"I liked that it was shown in a fun way. I would recommend the Book of Beasties because it is fun."
Saad - 11
"I would recommend Book of Beasties to people that have needs to help them understand what to do."
Diana - 11
"I would recommend Book of Beasties because you learn to express your feelings and how to deal with them by playing a really fun game."
Mia - 10
"It helped me to know how you deal with your emotions and it also helped me to keep healthy with your emotions."