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27/02/2024 Lois Bunn, Play Therapy UK registrant & CMHC committee member, speaks at The APPG on a Fit & Healthy Childhood

APPG – The All-Party Parliamentary Group on A Fit and Healthy Childhood

The Impact of Lockdown on Child Health and Wellbeing

On my second attendance at an appg meeting, I was asked to make a speech, representing PTUK and our Child Mental Health Charter. My serious case of ‘imposter syndrome’ was made more vivid by seeing a client in Kidderminster in the morning and then taking the train from Worcester to Paddington in the afternoon. One stop on the Elizabeth line and two on Jubilee and there I was – the iconic building of Westminster! The committee rooms, where meetings are held are a long way from the airport security-style entrance. Many stairs and steps, passing the House of Lords and Commons on the way. Just a little intimidating!

This meeting was well attended by individual supporters and representatives of charities e.g. MQ, Place2Be and chaired by Steve McCabe MP. DR Tamsin Newlove-Delgado from the University of Exciter spoke mainly about the research and data she was personally involved in creating. Stephen Kingdom from Disabled Children Partnership spoke next about the impacts of lockdowns on disabled children and their families. He used examples and research collected by his coalition.

I was the last to speak, which was good as I was able to make links to things the previous speakers had said, particularly statistics Tamsin highlighted and areas that still need focussed study e.g. ages 0-5, and the protective features that existed for some.  My pitch was more Play Therapy centred, I included personal experience and my own case studies. I only spoke about the typical age best suited for PT, up to 11, and starting at 0, as early development is so important to the work we do. I discussed the impact of lockdown on the distinct needs of different developmental stages. I used Darcy Freeman’s developmental questions to base the potential deficits on – Is the world ok? (0-18minths), Am I ok? (18-36months), How much can I do? (age 3-6), How well can I do things (age 7-11)? I gave handouts with visuals of children at the different stages and words about what was missing in lockdown alongside the photos.

The 3 speeches generated many questions, and I was able to link questions to our important work with the youngest children, the importance of prevention, early intervention, expertise (being fully qualified), and developmentally appropriate. Also, the significance developmental trauma and the plasticity of younger nervous systems.

27/02/24 – The impact of lockdown on child health and wellbeing