Who is this app for?

Apart of Me is designed to help young people who have lost a parent or close relative, or have someone important in their life with a terminal illness.

The game is aimed at young people aged 11+. Our research shows that our core audience is 13-16 year olds (you can read our evaluation report for more detail). However, we know from feedback that adults and younger children, who play while accompanied by an adult, also find the game helpful and meaningful.

We gave the Apart of Me game an age range because some of the stories shared by our guides talk very openly about death in a way that may not be suitable for younger children. These stories are marked with a ⚡ sign within the game. Parents of children younger than 11 should listen to these stories first to decide.

Why is it needed?

Childhood bereavement is associated with a number of negative outcomes for those affected, particularly when their grief is left unacknowledged and unprocessed. In the UK, for example, 25% of under 20s who take their own life have experienced childhood bereavement1, while 41% of young offenders have lost a parent2.

1: National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness, University of Manchester, 2017

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

Where can I get Apart of Me?

The Apart of Me game is now available on the iOS App Store and on Google Play.

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

Get in touch with us via our support page and we’ll try to resolve any issues as soon as possible.

What are you working on next?

We have a lot of big plans in the pipeline! Right now we are focusing on making Apart of Me available in more languages so that we can help more young people around the world.

What devices does Apart of Me support?

Apart of Me supports iOS and Android phones and tablets.

How do I know the game is safe to play?

Apart of Me has been designed by an experienced child psychologist (and former child protection social worker), along with a team of expert advisors. These include the psychological support team at St Joseph’s Hospice and a number of psychotherapists and other health professionals with a special interest in child bereavement. We developed the game based on detailed feedback and focus groups we held with bereaved young people and their families.

The game features checkpoints where the young person playing is encouraged to check in with someone if they are feeling particularly low or vulnerable. We also provide links to organisations specialising in helping vulnerable young people. Where possible these have been tailored to the specific location (e.g. Childline in the UK). There is currently no interaction allowed between the player and other people through the game.

Are there any risks?

There is very little risk in Apart of Me. There is a chance that as users play the game, difficult emotions will be stirred 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 and ensured that the player is empowered at every moment. For example, they can throw bottles back into the ocean if the quests inside feel too challenging at that time.

We have also kept in mind the reality that, in the age of the internet, young people can and will look up information for themselves if it is not provided by the adults in their life. So, we feel it is better to give them carefully chosen information in a sensitive and meaningful way while they are in a safe and supportive space.

Apart of Me is in no way a substitute for professional support where that is required. It can be used on its own where appropriate or as an addition to professional treatment.

What does the research say?

Apart of Me is based on research that shows that talking with children openly and honestly (while keeping it age-appropriate) about death and dying can prevent them from developing entrenched, compex feelings around their loss3.

Many of the therapeutic techniques we have used in the game can be found in this great list of evidence-based coping strategies for grief. Those applied in Apart of Me include:

  • Finding meaning - In the game, the player’s aim is to train to become an Oracle, which gives them the opportunity to turn their suffering into a story that can provide hope to other bereaved young people
  • 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 emotions, thoughts and behaviours 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 - Children are often left out of conversations about grief but it is really important that they are able to articulate their feelings and talk about their experience, especially when the loss is more traumatic. In the game we provide this through the Cave.

There is also a growing number of evidence-based games with a clear therapeutic benefit4.

3. National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness, University of Manchester, 2017.

4. https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/amp-a0034857.pdf

How are you evaluating your game?

We commissioned an independent evaluation into the effectiveness of Apart of Me, which you can now read 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.

Are you a charity?

Apart of Me is a non-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 our game. Prism is 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 non-profit status here or you can contact Prism 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 Apart of Me, 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