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How Our Mental Health Comics Help Kids During Vulnerable Times

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Kids are using cell phones at an earlier and earlier age, so much so by the time they are between the ages of 11-16, 53% of kids consider their phones to be their best friends. While this may mean they are more connected than ever, with so much going on, 50% of the kids feel a sense of loneliness watching everything happen without them.

We are currently in a youth mental health crisis, with “1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17” experiencing a mental health disorder each year, which shows no signs of abating.

We are targeting to have early intervention with pre-teens before we hit the age of 14. We will be reaching both to the pre-teens as well as through major influences in their life such as parents, child psychologists, and school counselors.

FriendTales was created due to that unmet need to help kids improve their mental state during vulnerable times. We want to be there for kids to learn and overcome mental lows together. FriendTales developed “Real Imaginary Friends” — mental health characters that embody different mental health states. Think “Inside Out,” but mental health characters.

The “Real Imaginary Friends” are brought to life in two products: a comic series and chatbots.

The comics help kids relate to characters through similar experiences by highlighting different symptoms of their mental health state. The kids can learn and grow through the character stories in each comic, starting in middle school — the characters will have relatable symptoms to what the kids might be feeling at that age. The characters will grow up with the kids, going from middle school, high school, then to college.

Next, the chatbot of each character allows the kids to start developing a relationship and connection to the character. The kids can now chat through their experiences and their feelings with the character. The chatbot brings the kids’ favorite characters to life. We have a patent-pending technology to transform any fictional characters into responsive ones.

We want to create a stigma-free universe of mental health entertainment. A place where everyone is open and honest about their mental health and gives the kids the courage to do the same. The more kids relate to characters that are open about their feelings, the better the kids will feel about doing the same.

We believe if you can change your thoughts, you can change the world. That’s exactly what FriendTales strives to do.

Photo via contributor

Originally published: May 10, 2022
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