How young people are addressing difficult subjects

Talking about mental ill-health can be difficult, particularly for young people also navigating the challenges that come with being a teenager. To help young people at one of our residential services to address what can be a confronting subject, a Mind peer practitioner has made a life-sized board game. 

This game utilises educational mental health trivia and challenges as players attempt to move from one side of the grid to the other. Players roll a gigantic die and move through coloured spaces, each representing a different task or activity that must be completed. 

These interactive activities include ‘negative thinking baseball’ (which challenges players to recognise unconstructive thoughts, represented by a ball, and hit them far away using a pool noodle), and word puzzles including words relating to mental health. These games can provide an opening to host meaningful discussions about difficult topics. The games also encourage relationship building, social inclusion and creative thinking. 

“Participants have found the program to be a valuable asset in forming self-care strategies and life skills,” says Lauren Matotek, the brains behind the board game. “Often they realise they would not have been able to come up with these self-care ideas on their own, so not only is it fun but they see the benefits and learnings that come with playing. They love trying things out in a safe environment and learning more about themselves.”

People standing on tiles playing a game

Carly, one of the young people at the residence says the game is “better than Monopoly! I like how we all do it together – it’s really interactive and having it life-sized makes it fun too.”

“I think something like this is needed as mental health doesn’t get spoken about enough, and it (the board game) is a friendly way of having a difficult conversation.”

Our thanks to RACV who have provided our youth residential service in Rosanna with a $5000 grant to further develop the life-sized board game and offer it in regional Victoria.

Man and woman looking at large dice on floor