Who are you affiliated with?
Book of Beasties is partnered with The University of West London or UWL for short, and will become part of a suite of recommended interventions by the University.
In order to measure the interventions effectiveness the game was part of a successfully conducted pilot study by the Psychology department which will become public in early 2020.
Where did the idea come from?
The Book of Beasties team in one way or another has come into contact with or experienced mental health issues throughout their lives. Creators Phil and Tom during their school days both recalled a significant lack of support for children who are struggling with understanding their emotions and recognising symptoms of such things as anxiety and depression.
Curious to see what had changed since then they spoke to numerous educators, teachers and parents who all expressed a desire for improved, simpler and more accessible mental health education and awareness for schools. This drove them to create something that anyone could use and was as simple as starting a conversation over a card game.
How is it delivered in schools?
The game itself is quick to learn and simple to play, when played with the premise that its goal is to raise awareness of mental wellness, it provides multiple opportunities to discuss all aspects of the game with its strange characters, items, actions and activities.
For the teachers we have designed a fully comprehensive guide that takes them through the whole product step by step, offering alternative exercises such as origami boat races and positive fortune telling. We have devised a series of five lessons focusing on two Beasties per lesson.
The characters with shared symptoms have been paired to make focusing on particular symptoms, emotions or issues easier throughout each lesson. The teacher or whoever is delivering the class can then dictate how the game is played, when it stops for discussion and when the activities are introduced.
What makes you qualified to discuss mental health?
Firstly, Book of Beasties has been reviewed and endorsed by a psychology and happiness expert and a Clinical Psychologist. Both with considerable and impressive careers, and significant experience working with children of all ages.
The exercises we have developed are already used techniques such as yoga moves hand picked for children, simple breathing exercises and writing our worries down to help in dealing with them. We mix it up by delivering them in an alternative and more kid-friendly fashion.
As soon as you mention anything to do with 'psychology' or 'qualifications', people and in our experience, especially children, tend to shut down. No one is necessarily that interested in knowing what’s wrong with them and others, they are however interested in ways they can feel better.
Simply put, you don’t need a doctorate to have a conversation.
Hows does it help children?
The Game Is designed to raise emotional literacy, as well as normalise and de-stigmatise the open and positive conversation around Mental Health and Wellness.
We use of physical activities, creative tasks, competitive elements, or just simple gaming with specific windows and opportunities for talking about the Beasties and ultimately ourselves and our friends wellbeing.
Is it just aimed at those who suffer with their mental health?
Absolutely not! Book of Beasties is also about understanding emotions as well as understanding how others feel. It is about awareness that mental ill-health exists, because if you know it’s there you can prepare for it should it happen to affect you or someone you know.
Where can it go from here?
As we said the possibilities are endless. If we are to develop one of our ideas for expansions on Book of Beasties every year, then we have about ten years worth of material. (We can’t do it all at once as it won’t have the same impact). These ideas range from music to sport related versions, as well as nature and art. Each with new characters, exercises, games, items and ambitions.
We also release seasonal free resources for schools so the children can benefit from the Beasties all year round with unique adventures and activities to explore.
It is our ongoing goal to continue making mental health education fun, simple and accessible for everyone… And we want to take it global.
When and where is it available?
A BIG THANK YOU TO...
Our Reviewing Body:
BSc (Joint Hons), ACA, MAPP. Expert in the Psychology of Wellbeing and Happiness, Author of 10 Keys To Happier Living - A Science-based Practical Guide (Adults) and lead author of 50 Ways to Feel Happy (an activity book for children aged 7-11 years)
We'd also like to thank...
Tim and Mary Herlihy
Anna Williamson - Author, TV and Radio Personality
Jacky Brown - Behavioural Consultant
Rachel Quinn - Psychologist
Rachel Morris - Motion Learning Psychologist
Michaela Sheppard - Therapist
Mae Harris - Haseltine Primary
Terena De Abaitua-Hind - Grange Primary
Sabina Sidhu - Grange Primary
Tasha Dodwell - Grange Primary
Debbie Ferrara - Grange Primary
Amy Griffiths - Widey Court Primary
Katie Carrol - Connaught Primary
Michelle Connolly - Harefield Children’s Centre
Shannon Collis - St Mary’s Primary
Mark Kehoe - Sunday Times
Kirsten Jones - Sunday Times
Matt Jarvis - Tabletop Gaming Mag
Angela Dodwell - Ealing Council
Benjamin Williams - Comic Book News UK
Dan Childs - Pack Me Pretty
Emma Chase - Belle PR
Jake Winter - Ivory Graphics
Steve Wise - Barley Mo Repro
Mark Connolly - The Clinic Gym
Samantha Mackenzie Weller - MW Management
Alex Clarke - Play Tester
James Bremmer - Play Tester
Garry and Julia Tottman
Will Walker - Musician
David Bulley - Musician
Plus all the children and staff we met at:
Haseltine Primary, Sydenham
Connaught Primary, Bagshot
Widey Court Primary, Plymouth
Grange Primary, Ealing
Harefield Children's Centre, Uxbridge
Finally, we would like to extend our thanks to everyone that pledged to our successful Kickstarter Campaign throughout September and October of 2018.
Bruno and Aicha Muthelet
Laura/ Aaron Doherty
Shawn K Dorsey