CGL are a voluntary sector organisation specialising in substance misuse and criminal justice intervention projects in England and Wales. They have recently begun using our Mental Wellness Card Game as an early intervention response, for children aged 7-11. It is being implemented in homes that have experienced domestic violence, divorce, substance abuse, child abuse and/or parental incarceration.
“I used this with five children last week and it worked great with all of them, […] we were able to respond to the needs within that session and create another activity using the game.”
It has proven successful in a range of situations in an environment which would be considered challenging by even the most experienced Education Professionals.
“For instance, I have an eight year old who has experienced a lot of DA [Domestic Abuse] and just started seeing dad again, which she is over the moon about, but due to the constant cycle of abuse I was conscious of setting her expectations in reality. She was absolutely not willing to go there at all [discussing abuse], was again very protective of her dad. So we played the game, […] the game allowed for a lot of reflection on practical coping strategies for when she is sad; she has previously identified feeling very sad when she is not allowed to see her dad when he becomes abusive to mum. So, this was a way of responding to her needs whilst still meeting the overall needs of the situation.”
“Another nine year old I played the game with focusses a lot on what peers think of her and her self-esteem is linked to this. One of the tools in BoB [Book of Beasties] is the Magic Mirror which helps the beasties see what's inside them. So, using a paper plate we made our own magic mirror. She was able to identify some positives within herself and we were then able to reflect on how thinking about these make her feel and use these as a resilience building tool.
She also tends to blame herself for all the chaos at home (I see her due to her older sibling’s drug use) and will then get very down. I will use this session as a jumping off point for this next time; I am planning to pick one of the beasties which is a 'self-blamer' and identify what this beastie would say about the YP [Young Person], and with her agreement I plan to share this with her parents to show her voice but also use the magic mirror so she can counteract these negative views in the future when they come up.”
“For another YP [Young Person] who finds it really hard to talk, they engaged really well with the game. There is poor parental mental health for his mum and one of the beasties always feels down and worries how this affects others. We drew a picture of how it may feel to be around that beastie and he then stated sometimes this is how he feels when mum has bad days, again capturing his voice. In the next session we will use the practical coping strategies in the game to see if this may address each of the feelings he has identified.”
On a final but just important point our client pointed out it is “also, worth noting, whilst I still need to double check the instructions, kids seem to get the game very quickly!”