Children’s art therapy continuing thanks to virtual platforms

21 May 2020

Children’s art therapy continuing thanks to virtual platforms
Children at St Mary’s Hospital have been able to access ‘virtual’ art therapy to help them keep active during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Funded by ArtSocial Foundation, Art Therapist Alice Patrick has been providing essential therapeutic support to young patients at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust since November 2019.

Art therapy provides patients with the opportunity to explore a variety of creative art and to engage in a range of activities, including drawing, painting, clay and plastering work.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Alice has adapted her role and is currently supporting the children’s wards at St Mary’s using video call platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Continuing to take referrals from the clinical team, as well as supporting patients already known to Alice, has helped to maintain a sense of normality for these children.  

Alice said: “Children with long-term health conditions need emotional support, now more than ever. It felt important that I remain consistent in my work.”

While resources are limited, Alice has been getting creative and encouraging her patients in the wards to use art materials already by their bedsides from past sessions. For new patients, art supplies are found in their own homes.

“The familiarity of the art materials alongside the consistency of the therapeutic space provides something reassuring and safe amidst so much uncertainty and anxiety,” Alice added.

“It is crucial that we are able to support young people in the eye of the storm, but more importantly we must continue to do so on the other side.”

Since November 2019, we have collaborated with ArtSocial Foundation in a year-long partnership to deliver art therapy within children’s services at St Mary’s Hospital.

ArtSocial Foundation is a philanthropic foundation that is on a mission to use arts to improve the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people with special needs and disabilities (SEND), life-limiting health conditions or psychological trauma.

The Foundation provides grants to grassroots and national charities in the UK and Russia that work with vulnerable children and adults through arts.

Displayed photo taken January 2020.