There is unprecedented demand for mental health and wellbeing support for families with young children. This unmet need contributes to family stress, and for some children can develop into mental health issues that persist through adolescence and into adulthood. This is the problem that Embers the Dragon was designed to tackle.
One in every six children is diagnosed with a mental illness.
Yet two thirds of children with low-level needs cannot access support.
There is a huge burden on CAMHS which is costing the NHS and wider system a huge amount of money.
£1.6bn is spent every year addressing emerging mental health needs in young children.
Childhood mental health issues, if untreated, disrupt adult life.
Parents are struggling with their children’s emotional wellbeing, and don’t know where to look for trusted support
A preventative approach to future emotional problems is needed, as early education focuses more on literacy and numeracy.
There is still a stigma that often surrounds childrens’ and families' mental health and difficult behaviours.
Embers the Dragon will counter this with a digital solution that can be accessed anywhere and by a programme that delivers the clinical intervention in an entertaining and natural way for children. Designed to be non-judgemental and supportive of all families; we know that any proactive step taken to develop a child’s mental wellbeing is a positive. Here's how it works.
The Science - How EMBERS WORKS
Embers the Dragon is primarily aimed for 3-7 year olds, their families, and those that educate and care for them. But Embers does not take the place of treatment for children at high risk or in need of specialist care.
We've taken the science behind children’s emotional development and how we learn behaviours and used it to create stories and content that help children learn positive skills for their wellbeing. The main two scientific principles that underpin our programmes are Social Learning Theory and Self Determination Theory.
Self Determination Theory says that for us to be happy and healthy we need to develop skills for managing ourselves and our feelings, motivating ourselves and relating to others.
Social Learning Theory based parenting support is the front-line treatment recommended by that National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to support early emotional development and behavioural concerns. It builds on the idea that children witness different behaviours in others and try them out themselves to see how they work for them. If the behaviour gets them the desired outcome and their need is met, it is reinforced, and the child is then more likely to do the behaviour again until it becomes routine.
These two child and family social learning theory-based models, evidenced by their inclusion in NICE standards, are some of the most effective forms of early intervention and support between the ages of 2-8. They are also the most effective means of reducing challenging behaviours in adolescence including substance misuse, criminality, and significant mental health problems.
Many online resources claim to be helpful for children’s mental health but can often be based on pseudoscience and are unregulated (Embers the Dragon is a registered medical device). There’s nothing out there that starts with an evidence-based approach and delivers it through entertainment. In future, the Embers the Dragon platform could revolutionsie access to much-needed quality support by delivering scalable clinical interventions digitally, in a way that’s appealing to children, their families and those that educate and care for them.
How we blend science with story
The inhabitants of Keiki Island are mapped to core child developmental personality types and temperaments, and the comings and goings within the world are focused on real-life milestones and moments that any child can relate to.
This provides us great depth in the way we approach our storytelling in any format, given the varied perspectives of our ever-growing cast and what they encounter:
Positive relationships (family, peers, relationship loss etc)
Confidence & competence (boundaries, child experience)ve and grow!
Autonomy (food, new tasks, new responsibilities, decision making)
Emotional literacy (Fight and flight, happiness, usefulness etc)
Thinking creatively (Working as a team, problem solving)
Sleep (routines, experience, anxiety)
For each theme, we systematically construct the stories, lesson plans and parenting resources around the common issues and associated evience-based advice that might otherwise be taught, for example, in a traditional parenting class. Except, in Embers, the impact amplifies in the intersect between the world of the child's story-based learning and the parents' new insights to their child's feelings and beharviours. Help is accessed without waiting lists and appointments, at their own pace in their own home, with the teaching resources providing added opportunity for consistency and amplification in the classroom.'
The most effective way for children to learn new skills & behaviours is for everyone in their network to respond to them consistently. Embers provides an opportunity for it to be as integrated as possible within a child’s life at school.
Embers at school supports classroom-wide learning, benefitting whole peer groups and providing teachers with resources designed around areas in the early years curriculum typically poorly served.
We currently have free teacher resources including lesson plans, activity sheets and classroom powerpoints for the following two courses:
We are currently trialing our clinical offering - a phone app that can be prescribed as an eight week course, but is not prescriptive in nature, meaning that parents can complete modules in their own time, repeat where necessary or complete out of order to follow their own needs.
Parents complete 11 modules utilising social learning theory to cover positive behaviour support, building parent child interactions and finally ignoring and consequences. There are additional hot topics that can be completed around common parenting challenges such as fussy eating, sleep and bereavement.
Children learn alongside the animated characters, and the concepts are reinforced through off-screen games, reward systems and lesson plans.
Parents, educators and carers access supporting content and information that enables them to contribute to their children’s wellbeing and monitor outcomes.
All the content on Embers the Dragon is rooted in self-determination theory and social learning theory, which is the NICE recommended approach.