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Apart of Me: a safe digital space to help children face a family member’s terminal illness

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Coping when someone you love is diagnosed with a terminal illness is devastating for any family member – but is particularly hard for children and young people. Research shows that children need clear and honest explanations about death. Yet, because terminal illness is a taboo subject, many necessary conversations never happen. Cuts to mental health support mean few children have access to counselling, especially in less well-off areas, which can lead to depression, exclusion from school and even crime.

Storing memories, sparking conversations

Apart of Me is an interactive game designed to make a difference to these children’s lives. Given to families at the point of diagnosis, it harnesses proven counselling techniques to create a safe digital space for children to explore their feelings. In different game-zones, users can record audio or visual memories, or express their emotions. This helps start the process of coming to terms with what’s happening, and allows the young person to see the terminal illness of their loved one as a place from which ultimately they can draw strength.

Nominet Trust funding will help create a beta version for testing with health professionals, young people, and their families, to make the game even more supportive to those who need it most.