Dealing with grief, anger, or sadness is a part of life. Everyone goes through hard times, but it can be even more difficult when you’re just a kid.
While mental illness or poor mental health throughout childhood and adolescence may, at least in part, be attributed to genetics, it can also come from childhood experiences and a lack of adequately dealing with grief. This is something parents should be aware of, especially when there is a family death or issues within a family that can negatively impact a child’s mental health.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 2.1 percent of children between the ages of three and seventeen suffer from depression, in the United States. Around 3 percent suffer from anxiety.
According to a 2017 press release about youth suicide from the University of Manchester, “25% of under-20s and 28% of 20-24-year-olds – around 125 deaths per year – had experienced bereavement (the loss of a loved one).” Losing a loved one can have a significant impact, and the way it’s dealt with could impact a child’s future.
One startup, known as Bounce Works, wants to help kids “get their bounce back.” Their product, Apart of Me, helps kids deal with the grief that comes after the death of a loved one.
Apart of Me
When talking doesn’t work, sometimes the easiest way to get a kid’s attention is through games. Bounce Works’ game, Apart of Me, uses that to its advantage. It also appeals to today’s kids’ comfort and familiarity with technology.
Apart of Me is a digital platform that allows kids to play a fantasy game. The game takes place on an island, which is a safe place to explore. There are various locations and activities for users to navigate.
At one area, called the “Waterpool,” kids can have a peaceful and serene place where they might choose to meditate.
The Cave is another place on the island, and a collection of colorful fireflies lights it. This space allows kids to learn about the stories of other users, as they attempt to catch the fireflies.
Various quests allow users to store different memories in a bottle, and the user can then look into any of these bottles whenever they want.
Rocks around the island can also be picked up, and these explain different perspectives and attempt to solve some of life’s more difficult questions to kids, like what happens after death. It doesn’t look to give one definite answer, but instead, it explains some of the possible theories and explanations out there.
The app is designed for children eight years old or older. It is currently in beta and not available to the public just yet.
Bounce Works is a London-based company. Louis Weinstock and Ben Page are the company’s co-founders.
Weinstock has worked as a psychotherapist for families and children for over sixteen years. He has worked on developing therapeutic education and meditation courses for parents and kids. The idea for Apart from Me came from his work at a Hospice in London, where he helped parents with terminal illnesses have discussions about their eventual death with their children.
Page has worked as a software developer for over a decade and has helped to develop and launch multiple products for various companies and startups. Page’s wife works as a child psychologist, and, as a father of two young children himself, Page believes technology can be used in a way that is beneficial for children and can help them grow and develop.
Currently, Bounce Works is using a crowdfunding website to raise funds, and they have raised over £30,000 (which is almost $40,000) so far.
Bounce Works uses the website MyDonate to accept donations from those who want to help support their products.
Even if you can’t donate money, the company is always looking for stories from people who underwent some loss at a young age. The company plans to build a library of these stories, which can then be searched via the app.
Bounce Works also encourages people to spread the word about their company and its mission, primarily via social media websites.