Book of Beasties Mental Wellness Card Game

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Book of Beasties - The Mental Wellness Card Game

A family-friendly game, playable for fun but also as an opportunity to explore mental health issues at home and in schools with children as young as 6

We're delighted to stock this fun, educational, British indie designed card game, which sits well alongside our other family, children's and educational games.

Book of Beasties is a fun and easy to learn card game where players team up with Oscar, Abigail & Mimic. Together they must use weird and wonderful contraptions to help bizarre creatures that have escaped through a mysterious portal from another dimension. BUT WAIT! Not all is as it seems, the game also acts as an aid to help teachers, parents and guardians talk with children about mental health.

The central focus of the game is to offer an approachable and enjoyable platform to promote discussion of serious mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, and to practice skills and exercises that could potentially be supportive. Book of Beasties is one of the only mental wellness games of its kind in the world to be endorsed by psychologists

The beasties represent certain manifestations of depression and anxiety, each with a number of items that can help it. Aside from the actual card game, the programme - using a lesson plan guide - encourages the conversation surrounding mental health by discussing how each character feels, why they may feel like that and how we can help them feel better. Through trialling the game in schools the designers have found that this offers an ideal platform for children to talk about their own feelings, raise their own concerns and practice the simple and accessible wellness exercises that the item cards represent. The conversation and hopefully the increased capabilities to cope with problems continues as the game is played outside of the classroom. The designers have seen this method of mental health education work first hand, with students opening up about their personal issues to the SENCOs and other school representatives involved in the trials. It has even encouraged some to help others feel more comfortable talking about such sensitive subjects.

It's not just for kids though, Book of Beasties has been played and enjoyed from children aged 6 to 10, as well as adults from 20 upwards. If you just want a fun and original game to play, you can - if you want something more then it's there, take from it what you will.

Mental illness affects 1 in 4 people, and 1 in 10 children in the UK according to the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) - that’s 1,100,000 kids in our care that are suffering from illnesses ranging from eating disorders to schizophrenia. However the most prominent disorder amongst young people is depression, which affects more children today than at any time in the last few decades. Worryingly the MHF claims that 70% of these kids are not being given the help and support needed to combat such disorders at an early age, which may in turn help them later in life.

The game's designers have set out to help change these stats...

'Our ambition for this game and other similar projects to come, is to normalise the subject of mental health amongst younger people, inside and outside of the classroom. From talking to teachers - including SENCO (Special Education Needs Coordinators) representatives from a number of schools, and a number of the children in those schools - it is apparent that many feel uncomfortable talking about their own and their peers mental health. There also appears to be a lack of help for those children who do suffer - with minimal material especially for them to offer a gentle helping hand. Book of Beasties makes it easier for kids to talk about this subject by relating how they feel and how they think others feel to the characters - then learn simple ways to help combat disorders as they arise. It does not claim to be a cure, or a final solution but a coping mechanism that can be delivered and monitored as the children progress and continue to play.'

'Our hope is that by making mental health a normal part of day-to-day chat and removing it from that list of taboo subjects, it will appease the suffering that can go hand-in-hand with all disorders. It may even lead to diagnosis and then the opportunity of treatment for some children.'

DESIGNERS' DISCLAIMER: School trials have been carried out under the supervision of trained teachers and SENCO (Special Education Needs Coordinator) representatives. We have worked closely with relevant professional advisors, who helped us shape Book of Beasties into an accessible and effective game for children and young people. Mental health issues affect people in many different ways, and everyone who plays Book of Beasties may react differently to the game. Our aim is to allow young people to have an open, informed and destigmatised dialogue about psychological health issues. We don‘t claim Book of Beasties will be a cure or the end game for mental health issues. It is a tool to start conversations and a means of demonstrating that we can struggle with our mental health at any age, whilst offering a helping hand (that possibly wasn’t there before) to understand and hopefully cope with such issues going forward.

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