Updated: Feb 13, 2020
Mood Bears are helping to ease the strain on children’s mental health
Cute teddy bears are playing a powerful part in tackling children’s mental health issues - as figures show a steady decline in youngsters’ emotional wellbeing.
Mood Bears are colourful teddies which are helping young people to deal with their feelings and emotions.
The 30cm-tall cuddly toys each represent one of five recognised feelings or emotional states happy bear, sad bear, silly bear, nervous bear and love bear.
It is hoped that in time they can encourage us all to talk, listen and understand our feelings, thoughts and moods.
The team behind Mood Bears recently took the cuddly characters into Leicester Royal Infirmary to meet some of the children undergoing care - and received an overwhelmingly positive response.
Joanna Proud - who designed the teddies and co-owns Mood Bears with husband Nathan - aims to get the bears into every hospital in England. More than 700 have been sold in just two months.
She said: “They proved so popular that the play specialists in charge of arranging fun activities for the children are now looking to include Mood Bears on their daily rounds.”
Adults’ intensive care at the health trust also praised the toys, as some were given to young children who had just lost their mother.
One nurse wrote to the company: “I just wanted to let you know how much of an impact your bears had when I gave them to some children who had lost their mum under tragic circumstances.
“They were given them by the hospital as the last gift from their mum. The comfort and love that these bears gave the children on this last day was immeasurable. I can’t thank you enough for sharing these bears with us.”
Joanna, who lives in Loughborough, said: “It brought me to tears to hear this. It’s extremely emotional and powerful to think of how I helped those children.”
Joanna, who is mum to Daisy, 15, Eliza, 13 and Thomas, 10, found the bears a comfort herself after suffering from depression over the past 18 months.
“I don’t feel the best some days,” she said.
“But I walk around the house cuddling them. They are so soft and you look at their little faces and they really make you smile.”
Mood Bears’ success comes as Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, warned that a ‘chasm’ remains between what mental health services are available for children and what they need.
An estimated 12.8% of children in England have mental health problems - and many more fall just below the threshold for clinical diagnosis.
The prevalence of five to 15-year-olds experiencing emotional disorders, including anxiety and depression, has increased by 48% – from 3.9% in 2004 to 5.8% in 2017, according to NHS Digital.
But Ms Longfield said: “We are still a decade away from a decent mental health service for all children.”
Mood Bears welcome companies to sponsor the bears. The firm’s name is printed on a certificate which is presented with each teddy.
The bears, which come with their own biography, cost £19.99, or a family of Mood Bears is available for £89.99
To find out more, visit www.moodbears.co.uk