Who is this app for?

Young people who have lost a parent or other close relative, also those who have someone important in their life with a terminal illness.

We have designed the app for ages 11+ and our research shows that the core audience is 13-16 year olds (see our evaluation report for more details). We have also had a lot of feedback telling us that adults also find the game meaningful and that many younger children have been playing while accompanied by an adult and have found it to be a great benefit!

We gave our game an age range because some of the stories shared by our guides talk very openly about death in a way that might not be suitable for younger children. (These stories are marked with a ⚡ sign within the game).

Why is it needed?

Childhood bereavement is associated with a number of negative outcomes for young people, particularly when the their grief is left unacknowledged. There are a lot of worrying statistics, here are some of the key ones:

25 percent of under 20’s who took their own life had previously lost someone.1

1 child in every class has lost a parent or sibling.2

41% of youth offenders have experienced childhood bereavement compared to only 4% of the general population.3

  1. The University of Manchester’s National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness 2017 

  2. https://childbereavementuk.org/about-us/why-we-are-needed-statistics/ 

  3. Youth Justice Trust, 2001: A Survey of some of the General and Specific Health Issues for Youth Offending Teams. Greater Manchester Youth Justice Trust. 

Where can I get Apart of Me?

Apart of Me is now available on the iOS App Store and on Google Play. If you would like to know more the game please get in touch. If you want to hear more details about our future plans then subscribe to our newsletter.

In the future, we will make Apart of Me available:

  1. At the point at which a parent gets a terminal diagnosis or
  2. When a young person loses a loved one.

We have partnerships with Hospices such as St Joseph’s Hospice and bereavement support organisations like like Winston’s Wish, Grief Encounter and Child Bereavement UK, ensuring that we deliver on our promise.

If you represent an organisation which may be interested in using our platform to support a specific group of young people we would be happy to talk about how we may be able to work together, please do get in touch.

What should I do if I'm having problems using Apart of Me?

We’re keen to help. We try to fix any reported issues as soon as possible. Visit our support page and get in touch.

What are you working on next?

We have big plans for the next phase of Apart of Me including rolling it out to more countries and languages, more details coming soon.

What devices does Apart of Me support?

Apart of Me supports iOS and Android, phones and tablets.

How do I know this app is safe to play?

Apart of Me has been designed by an experienced Child Psychotherapist (and former Child Protection Social Worker), along with a team of expert advisors, including Rachel Fearnley, author of the book Communicating with Children when a Parent is at the End of Life , the Psychological Support team at St Joseph’s Hospice, and a number of other psychotherapists, and health professionals with a special interest in this area. We have developed the game based on detailed feedback and focus groups with young people and families who have lost someone to a terminal illness.

The game features checkpoints, moments at which the Oracle suggests that the young person check-in with someone if they are feeling particularly low or vulnerable. We also include phone numbers such as Childline at these key points.

For details of our most recent evaluation see our evaluation report.

There is currently no interaction allowed between the young person and other people through the device.

Are there any risks?

There is very little risk in this app. There is a chance that, as users play the app, emotions will be stirred up as they are asked to reflect on death and dying, especially on the death of a loved one. However, we have taken a very soft-touch approach, empowering the user in each moment, so that, for example, the user can throw bottles back into the ocean if the Quests contained within feel too challenging. We also have kept in mind the reality that, in the age of the internet, young people can and will look up their own information if they are not given it by the adults in their life. So we feel it is better to give them titrated information in a thoughtful way.

This tool is in no way a substitute for professional support where that is required. It can be used on its own where appropriate, or it can be used as an adjunct to professional support.

What does the research say?

This app is based on the research that shows talking with children openly and honestly (but in an age-sensitive way) about death and dying can prevent them from developing entrenched, complex feelings around their loss.

‘Waiting until after the death to intervene cannot only leave a family feeling unsupported during a most stressful, confusing time, but can also give rise to maladaptive parent-child interaction patterns which can continue well into the post-mortem period when the stress of a terminal illness is long past’ 1

There is a great list of evidence-based coping strategies for grief here, many of which we have used in the game. For example:

  • Finding meaning: In the game, your aim is to train to become an Oracle, having the opportunity to turn your suffering into a story that can provide hope to other young people.

  • Family-based approach: ‘This can reduce risk factors and enhance protective factors though increasing positive interactions between parents and children and by increasing their mutual understanding of the illness and its family impact’ - This is the primary idea of the whole game, digital tool encouraging offline interaction, but specifically through the Quests system and the rocks on the island.

  • A Safe Space to Explore Feelings: A crucial need of a grieving child is being able to have a safe space in which they can express their own feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, without feeling judged by adults who may hold different or contradictory views. This is what we provide in Apart of Me.

  • Emotional literacy around grief is key: especially when the loss is more traumatic. We provide this through the Cave.

  • Mindfulness improves young people’s ability to tolerate stress: There is some emerging evidence for mindfulness as a specific approach to help people through grief 2

There is also a growing evidence-base of games with a clear therapeutic benefit 3.

  1. (Dunning, S. (2006) As a Young Child’s Parent Dies: Conceptualizing and Constructing Preventive Interventions, Clinical Social Work Journal, 34(4): 499 – 514.) Beale, E.A., Sivesind, D. and Bruera, E. (2004) Parents dying of cancer and their children, Palliative and Supportive Care, 2: 387 – 393. 

  2. (Granic, I, Lobel, A, Engels, R. (2014) The Benefits of Playing Video Games, American Psychologist, Vol. 69, No. 1, 66 –78) 

  3. https://missfoundation.org/wp-content/mediafiles/2016/06/ATTEND-pre-post-Thieleman-Cacciatore-Hill.pdf 

How are you evaluating your game?

We commissioned an independent evaluation into the effectiveness of Apart of Me and which is now available here.

In summary the report concluded:

Overall, Apart of Me is working extremely well to engage and support young people who have recently been bereaved, through both the content and gaming elements of the app.

This is a particularly difficult audience to engage:

  • Teenagers in general can be difficult to engage and even more so around issues they may find difficult or challenging.
  • They also tend to have very high standards around apps and technology and are notoriously hard to please.

Therefore, the fact they have responded so positively to Apart of Me is a significant achievement.

Where can I find more information about how this game works?

We will produce a parents and carers guide containing more information about the techniques used within the app and the information contained within it. For now feel free to contact us for more details.

Are you a charity?

Apart of Me is a not-for-profit project supported by Bounce Works. All Apart of Me fundraising is managed via a collective fund administered by Prism, the Gift Fund, a Charity specialising in helping single issue projects like ours (registered charity number 1099682). Bounce Works and Prism the Gift Fund have a contract in place that enables this project to be officially deemed charitable according to UK law. Prism, the Gift Fund are responsible for administering the fund, managing gift aid contributions and ensuring that the money raised is used in accordance with the aims of the Apart of Me project.

You can see a certificate validating our not-for-profit status here, alternatively please contact Prism, the Gift Fund for more details.

Bounce Works itself is a social enterprise dedicated to benefitting the mental health and emotional wellbeing of children, adults and families.

If you have any questions about either body or want more details about how any donated funds will be used to help the Apart of Me project please get in touch.

Does that mean I can claim Gift Aid?

Yes! As long as you are a UK taxpayer, you can claim Gift Aid for donations to Apart of Me. If you donate via our fundraising page you will be able to opt in to Gift Aid.

Non-UK donors may also be able to benefit from tax relief in their own jurisdiction, if this applies to you please contact us prior to donating and we can help.

Where can I find you?

You can find us on Facebook here, Instagram here and Twitter here