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Creatively supporting children and families to develop emotional resilience and mental health skills

Embers the Dragon

location_on London, United Kingdom
Mental Health support in the early years is the single biggest impact factor on children's future outcomes. Embers the Dragon was developed by Clinical Experts in Children's Mental Health to scale evidence based support that empowers parents and children to learn skills to support their mental health - With 93% accuracy in reducing behaviours of concern and increasing parental confidence
The team behind Embers the Dragon have creatively created an invaluable resources for supporting the growing worry of children's mental health

Innovate UK


HundrED has not validated this innovation

Anyone can submit their innovation to HundrED Open. All information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been checked by HundrED. Innovation page has been created by Emma Selby on May 19th, 2021
Key figures

Innovation Overview

Target Group
200 000
Updated on October 2nd, 2021
about the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

Mental health concerns in children are increasing year-on-year, further impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. 1-in-8 children now receive a formal diagnosis however it is estimated that 1.2M children would benefit from early intervention which they do not currently receive. A clinically led collaboration we knew that a digital solution that could scale the best evidence support was needed.

How does your innovation work in practice?

Embers the Dragon is a digital platform designed for use by children, parents and teachers taking a systemic approach to emotional development by providing resources aimed at the wider system around children to ensure a consistent and effective approach.
The program is made up of high quality animated episodes for children to watch. Each episode is aimed at a common mental health concern with evidence based learning for the children built into the storyline. Each episode is accompanied by a expert advice video for parents where experienced clinical staff offer insight & advice for parents to support them to use the program and downloadable resources to use off screen with children. Each episode is also accompanied by three EYFS lesson plans for teachers to use to consolidate learning. A randomised study completed with the National Institute of Health Research showed that 98% of test group parents showed an improvement in parental response in relation to effective parenting styles.

How has it been spreading?

In 2020 the program was awarded two research grants from the National Institute of Health Research and Innovate UK to explore the effect of the program which showed statistically significant results in the improvement of mental health outcomes for children and parents. The program was then featured internationally by Innovate UK as 1 of 4 programs of excellence and was presented at the international innovation showcase in Russia.
The program is also featured in the Patient Information Forum Guide to Producing Health Information for Children and Young People.
We utilise Social Media in order to expand interaction with the animated episodes which are free to view and have had over 222,000 views and 1.7m impressions since August 2020 with feedback received from as far as India and Canada

If I want to try it, what should I do?

The animated series can be viewed free online with school and parent resources commissioned at a local level. For more information email us at


See this innovation in action

The ultimate guide to navigating back to school
Featured by Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire is just one of many places to recommend the program
Creating a digital programme to support children’s emotional wellbeing | Nursing Times
The Embers the Dragon Program was built using the best current clinical evidence and is part of a wider and in depth research program. We publish our results regularly including this article with the nursing times.
Preparing for school in a pandemic
Our successful research Project was featured by Innovate UK
Parent Review
I always thought the key to motherhood madness was caffeine, locks on the toilet door and the peaceful bliss of screen time. It turns out the real key is small, blue and rocks a skinny scarf! If you haven’t met Embers and his friends yet you need to. We were first introduced to Embers the Dragon through my daughters school who were part of a research trial. I didn’t think much more about the cute little cartoon until we got home from a particularly disastrous school run and I would have sold the house for the chance of a hot cup of tea. Like every parent, mum guilt kicked in at the thought of plonking the kids in front of a screen but sanity won out and when the littlest asked for Embers it killed two birds with one stone. After trying and failing to get the episode up on the big TV, I left my eldest daughter to it (I swear she entered the world knowing the wifi password) and left the room to the gentle tones of the theme tune. One cup of tea and a sneaky biscuit later and I returned to find them still curled on the sofa watching this dragon. No fighting, no hair pulling, no sofa territory squabbles. I decided to sit with them and catch a few minutes and before I knew it I was nodding along to the sage advice of Mrs Owl, That bird knows her stuff! When the kids were in bed that night I dug a little deeper into the world of Embers the Dragon. On the surface it a clever series that the kids loved but behind the bright primary colours and engaging story lines were worksheets, play ideas and activities to try out as well. All accompanied by chatty, friendly videos of the people behind the program, telling it how it is in such a frank and refreshing way that I was practically standing on the table giving it the whole ‘I am mother, hear me roar!’. Empowering stuff indeed. Over the next 8 weeks Embers became our regular companion and I quickly learnt that although I wouldn’t have said my home life was in any way ‘bad’ it could also be so much better! It was like the ability to listen and understand what the kids were trying to say had been updated. They were calmer, happier and more confident. I enjoyed playing activities with them and feeling like we talked more and shouted less. My littlest sleep the best she has in years and suddenly we got our grown-up time back in the evening. Dare I say it, even our relationship saw the benefit of the little blue dragon! The whole house seemed to become less stressful. Embers and his little friends are now a firm fixture in our life. I know the theme tune, I know what the colours mean, I even think I’m learning to speak bumble bee. But unlike other children’s programs, where this would be an annoying addition to my life, prodding at my mum guilt when I least expect it, I now feel proud and excited at all the things I do for my girls. The girls love Embers, and he is now firmly their favourite use of screen time and play time. I give the Embers the Dragon program 5 stars! – or maybe that should be golden Keiki leaves?


Achievements & Awards

May 2021
Innovation page created on

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