Mental health challenges can lead to feeling isolated, or estranged from relationships. While these experiences are more common than we think, it can still be hard to put words to. Based on the understanding that social connectivity is an important driver of well-being, NAVIGATE and ACT Early programs help to foster social connections and grow friendships among young people participating in the programs. Cathy Adams, Clinical Director of the Lansing team, shares her thoughts after working with families and youth in Michigan for over 12 years.
“We’ve worked over the years to try to create opportunities for youth to come together in informal social settings – like game nights, art groups, dating groups, etc. – just an opportunity to create places and spaces for people to dip their toes in the water after experiencing a crisis that often disrupts social connection.” – Cathy Adams
Part of normalizing experiences that are hard to communicate is meeting people – who can relate, and also just to have fun and meet new people. Especially after the pandemic, when everyone’s social life suffered, events like game night offer casual settings to restore comfort and build confidence in relating with others in person again.
Jenga was one of the games played during a social event hosted by the Lansing team in May, 2023, to recognize mental health awareness month. One of the participants, Alexandria, shared what playing jenga meant to them. “Jenga is like helping each other build a solid future.