Mental Health? It's In The Cards

May 24, 2024

Mental Health? It's In The Cards

We all know mental health is important, but with such a wide and sometimes abstract topic it can be hard to know how to broach the subject with those we love. To help break that barrier, the members of The Teen Mental Health Collective, a group of teens dedicated to bringing awareness to teen mental health needs, have made a resource to help families foster conversation: the Mental Health Discussions Card Deck. The gamified approach helps people of all ages start meaningful conversations and proactively approach mental health.

The discussion cards are divided into four categories: Conversation Starters, Did You Know?, Coping Skills, and From the Source (quotes from teens). The cards were initially designed to facilitate conversation during the community-wide Mental Health Shabbat hosted by BeWellATL in April, but the enterprising teens had a bigger vision: that the cards would be an evergreen resource for all ages.

“I did the cards with my family, and it was amazing,” said one of our teens. “I learned so much more about (them), tears were shed, hugs were given; it was such a nice opportunity to connect because even when we stopped using the cards, the conversation continued.”

For Rebecca Brown, BeWellATL Program Manager, the hope is to create a dialogue between teens and their families. “What we really heard from the teens is that in many families there is a lack of discussion about mental health, it’s uncomfortable to talk about and never feels like there’s a good opening for conversation,” said Rebecca. “These cards are so helpful because parents don’t have to think of how to ask the questions - it’s already done!”

The cards, and the conversations they foster, can benefit kids of all ages. “We need to start these conversations with our children earlier. If we can talk about it, we can normalize it.” Rebecca went on to tell us. “Go through the deck and choose the cards that you think are appropriate for your age children, then talk about them over dinner, in the car, wherever. Questions like, ‘What qualities do you look for in a friend?’ are perfect for elementary school.”

“What we’ve heard from teens across the board is, ‘I needed to learn these things when I was in 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th grade,’ ‘I went through my hardest period when I was in middle school,’ etc.,” explained Rebecca, following conversations with cohort members. “Our roundtable this year was made up of sophomores and juniors, and one freshman - who all informed us that they could really have used this resource when they were younger.”

We’re glad to help get the conversation started with the Tackling Tough Topics: Mental Health Discussions card deck. Get your own set when you make a $36 donation to the BeWellATL initiative, with all proceeds benefiting the Teen Mental Health Round Table.

The Tackling Tough Topics: Mental Health Discussions card decks were created by members of the Teen Mental Health Round Table at JF&CS in collaboration with BeWellATL: Alex Harris, Tali Horwitz, Eli Jutan, Maren LaKier, Zach Milford, Gabrielle Poline, Alyssa Pontz, Sophia Rose and Sam Weiner.

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