Mental Health Benefits Of a Wish

For a critically ill child, wishes are more than a fun distraction.

Here’s how having a wish granted can drastically improve their emotional and mental well-being.


It’s hard to think of a situation more devastating than hearing your child has a critical, life-threatening illness.

Many parents describe it as a “whirlwind” or a “bombshell” that not only disrupts their daily life, it throws their emotions into turmoil as well.

When faced with a serious diagnosis, many families turn to medical professionals for the best chance at seeing their child happy and well again. But did you know that wish-granting organizations such as Make-A-Wish are also a necessary part of that journey?

According to a recent survey of Wish Alumni, parents, and medical providers, Wish Experiences have a significant impact on the mental health and emotional well-being of children living with critical illness.


Trauma Relief

Post-traumatic stress syndrome after a medical trauma is so common, there’s a name for it: post-intensive care syndrome. But PTSD and PICS don’t just impact the critically ill patient; they affect the entire family.

A Wish Experience, however, can give families a much-needed lifeline to carry them through their darkest moments.

In fact, 98% of medical providers agree that Wish Experiences help relieve families’ traumatic stress from a child’s critical illness.

Teen and adult going skiiing

Emotional and Mental Well-being

While many critically ill children take their diagnosis and treatment in stride, others have a much more difficult time coping with the sudden change in their health and lifestyle.

No longer able to do the things they love the most, Wish Kids often experience feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and even loneliness. Many are so used to hearing the word “no,” they start to doubt that a “yes” is even possible.

That’s what makes Wish Experiences so important!

Our research shows that 95% of parents observe an improvement in their child’s emotional well-being throughout the wish process, and medical professionals agree. In fact, 100% of doctors involved say the Wish Experience doesn’t just improve their patient’s emotional well-being, but their own.


Turning Point

There’s no denying that critical illnesses take a huge toll on the body and the mind. By their very nature, critical illnesses are not just life-threatening, they are unrelenting. Sapped of their physical and mental strength, many children start to doubt that recovery is even possible.

Yet studies have shown that having a positive outlook can have a noticeable, measurable effect on physical health.

By granting a wish to a critically ill child, Make-A-Wish is able to be the turning point in a child’s medical journey.

When asked about their wish, 94% of Wish Alumni said the experience helped them feel more “joyful, confident, and hopeful” about the future. And 90% of medical providers said the wish helped increase their patients’ compliance with treatment.

Wish Kid Super Cooper after saving the day

Strength to Fight

Having something to look forward to is a key part of happiness. But when a child is in the throes of a serious illness, finding hope can seem impossible.

Critically ill children hear the word “no” so many times that they often feel like they have no control over their lives. By making a wish, they are able to gain a sense of empowerment that can get them through difficult times.

Even before they happen, Wish Experiences bolster families’ strength by giving them something to focus on that’s purely for fun.

Eighty percent of Wish Parents say upcoming Wish Experiences were an important coping mechanism during their child’s treatment and 87% of Wish Alumni said it gave them the strength to keep fighting.


Long-Term Impact

Even if the Wish Experience only lasts a day, the positive impact of that wish can last a lifetime.

In addition to acting as the turning point in a child’s fight against their illness, 70% of medical providers say that Wish Experiences can increase their odds of survival. In fact, the majority of Wish Alumni go on to live happy, healthy lives.

Even after the Wish has been granted, the memories created help improve the child’s overall quality of life and bring their families closer together.


You Can Make Wishes Come True

While the Wish Experience can be a welcome distraction from the rigors of a serious illness, the real benefits are so much more than that.

In addition to lifting the spirits of a family wracked with stress, Make-A-Wish plays a huge role in the long-term health and well-being of critically ill children.

If you or a loved one is currently dealing with a serious illness or life-threatening condition, Make-A-Wish needs your referral! Just knowing that a wish is coming can often be the turning point in a child’s medical journey and improve their odds.