An East Lothian mental health charity for chronically ill children in hospital has doubled the number of people it has helped in the past year.
The Teapot Trust in East Lothian was set up over a decade ago when founders Laura and John Young spent a lot of time in hospital with their daughter suffering from lupus, an autoimmune disease.
She sadly passed away in 2008 and the charity was established a few years later to provide mental health support to hospitalized children with chronic illnesses and their families.
READ MORE: Edinburgh charity helps 50,000 children access lifesaving surgery in Africa
The essential service uses art therapists to help children aged four to 12 – with art identified as an effective way to assess whether young patients are doing.
The charity received £5,000 from Foundation Scotland in January this year for a new social prescribing project providing individual art therapy sessions for children and young people.
This will enable the charity East Lothian to work with GP practices across Scotland to promote their individual arts psychotherapy self-referral program to their families of patients.
The service works in hospitals across the UK, employing 16 art therapists across the country – all started in East Lothian.
Speaking to Edinburgh Live, Sarah Randell, chief executive of the charity, said: ‘We are very grateful for the support from Foundation Scotland.
“The funding we received from the PHP Community Impact Fund expands the reach of our individual art psychotherapy service for children and youth struggling with chronic physical conditions.
“The Teapot Trust Self-Referral Program enables families to get the support they need when they need it most.”
She continued: “This funding supports referrals from a PHP-owned GP practice or directly from one of their first-time patient families.
“Teapot Trust is delighted to help children and families build resilience, develop healthy coping mechanisms and improve mental health and wellbeing through this work across Scotland.”
James, who has been helped by the service, spoke of the benefits of helping him connect with others.
He said: “Because of my autism I find it difficult to talk to people, but with art therapy it was better because there was another way to communicate.
“It was really good that it was by zoom call because it worked really well for me. I thought Jane (art therapist) was very good at helping me.”
His mother said: “James was struggling with his mental health and with understanding and processing feelings of grief after losing a close friend.
“At worst it had a huge impact on our lives as he hit a very low point on a couple of occasions where he told us he had thought about killing himself. It was a very worrying time for us.
Sign up for Edinburgh Live newsletters for more headlines straight to your inbox
“At the end of the sessions, there was a huge improvement in his mental health and it helped him turn around completely.
the way he felt to allow him to cope so much better.
“He now seems to have a very positive outlook on life. I would go so far as to say it has transformed his life and his
the future and also helped him develop coping strategies for the future.