Within 48 hours of our launch on Indiegogo, we raised 40% of our target, becoming one of the most talked about projects on Indiegogo, and with celebrities like Stephen Fry showing their support for our mission! See our campaign here: https://igg.me/at/apartofme
For immediate release:
Interviews with bereaved young person and child psychologist available
Contact: Louis Weinstock - 07815 557391
A first of its kind mobile game is being launched to help bereaved young people and their families. Apart of Me is a revolutionary non-profit resource designed by a leading child psychotherapist and his London-based team at Bounce Works.
The game is based on an enchanting island, a safe space that the young person can explore whenever they want. You are supported on the island by an Oracle who acts as your wise guide.
The game’s narrative is based on the hero’s journey. Your character in the game is experiencing a tragic event, and the best way to grow from this is to learn certain skills that will allow you to turn your suffering into wisdom you can then share with others.
The concept of Apart of Me began when Louis was working at St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney, London. Counselling families where a parent had a terminal illness, he realised that “telling your kids you don’t have long left to live…well that’s the hardest conversation a parent can ever have. This isn’t helped by the taboo around death. Too often in our culture, the subject of death gets avoided, leaving kids filled with confusion and fear when they don’t get honest explanations.”
Louis decided to team up with software developer Ben Page and set up Bounce Works to create this resource.
Over the past 2 years Ben and Louis have been working closely with a team of advisors, young people and parents who have lost a loved one. They have tested the game with around 85 bereaved families and young people, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
Mandy, widow and mother of 2, said:
“If we’d had this game available to us when my wife was still alive she would have enjoyed helping him create a memory box and having set tasks to do would’ve made this incredibly daunting task more manageable for her.”
One of the venture’s main advisors, Jamie, lost his dad to a liver cancer 2 years ago. Without the resources or conversations he needed, Jamie found himself going rapidly downhill, hanging out with the wrong crowd and getting excluded from school. Since being involved with Louis and the Bounce Works project, Jamie has been studying a graphic design course at college, learning to play his dad’s old guitar, and is getting back on his feet.
He says of Apart of Me:
“If I’d have had something that would have reminded me how precious the time was, before it was too late, that would have been amazing. Since being involved in this project, I have been able to find some meaning from all of those dark times”
The prototype has received glowing endorsements from people such as Julia Samuel MBE, Founder Patron of Child Bereavement UK and author of Grief Works, who says
“I am excited to share this badly needed tool with our extensive networks of children, families, and professionals.”
Olly Clabburn, PHD, who lost a parent to MND and is investigating the use of digital legacies for people living with motor neurone disease, had this to say:
“What’s amazing and unique about AOM is children can create a legacy alongside their ill family member… it provides a fun, interactive way to prompt and bridge conversations which can sometimes be extremely difficult to do, also creating a digital resource that will be invaluable for future generations.”
The team have some very exciting plans for the future, and are in discussions with Unicef about a tailored version for bereaved refugee children.
Notes to Editors:
There are four features in the game:
The Cave: The inside of the cave is a mysterious place for catching fireflies, exploring emotions, and hearing user stories from other young people around the world..
The Waterfall: There is a waterfall where you can find some peace, listening to tailored mindfulness meditations.
Message in a Bottle: Each day, a new bottle arrives on the island, containing a quest for the hero. These quests encourage face-to-face connections with your parent(s), so that you can co-curate a beautiful treasure-chest of memories, and check in with these memories whenever you want. This feature is a digital version of the ‘memory box’ practice commonly used in grief counselling.
Perspectives on Death: What happens when we die? Explore this big question by searching for the mysterious rocks on the island, listen to perspectives old and new, and develop your own understanding.
Louis knew that a virtual world would be a good support for a grieving young person, because grief doesn’t fit into neat boxes or windows of time. It means they can check in whenever they want, whenever they might be struggling.
Whilst interaction within the game is a key component of the experience, the game also contains intuitive mechanics encouraging young people to connect offline in meaningful ways with their families and friends, using the tools and skills they have acquired while playing. A core principle of the Bounce Works design philosophy is using digital technology to encourage face-to-face human connection. As Louis says:
“Humans are designed over thousands of years of evolution to need real life connection for our wellbeing. It’s called co-regulation. Too much emphasis is placed on self-regulation or the ‘quantified self’, when we are in fact wired to need face-to-face contact with those close to us. Connection is especially important in grief, as seen in many traditional grief rituals.”
Over the past few months, the topic of child bereavement has been increasingly prominent in the public’s consciousness. Rio Ferdinand’s documentary about life as a single parent was broadcast to critical acclaim. The 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death allowed Princes William and Harry to open up over their last conversation with her and subsequent regrets. These moments have coincided with events such as the Manchester bombing and the Grenfell fire where families have had to cope with sudden loss in the most tragic and public of circumstances.
However the issue of child bereavement is nothing new. In the UK alone it’s estimated one child in every classroom has lost a parent. We also know that 41% of young offenders have experienced a child bereavement. An often overlooked factors is that young people from deprived backgrounds are more likely to lose a parent earlier and less likely to access counseling.
Death is a subject which parents find incredibly difficult to talk about with their children. In order to combat this, Child Psychotherapist Louis Weinstock decided to create Apart of Me. Nothing like this exists currently anywhere in the world. There are no interactive digital tools using gaming technology that translate the best therapeutic techniques and practices for dealing with grief into a safe virtual space.
Bounce Works’ mission is to overturn the growing crisis in mental health among our youth by creating engaging and effective digital products and services. As Louis says:
“Our children are digital natives. They grow up in this world. There are many companies spending millions of pounds to get young people hooked on their technology, often with negative consequences. I realised we needed to meet young people where they are at, learning from some of the techniques of these major companies to capture young people’s attention for just long enough to be able to make a positive impact on their wellbeing and hopefully get their attention hooked on something that will actually help them build emotional resilience.”
Interviews are available with:
For more information or to arrange an interview, call Louis Weinstock: 07815557391
You can see our campaign here: https://igg.me/at/apartofme
We have many captivating images and stills from the game to share with you, please request these separately.