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Western Students Create Mental Health Website for Youth & Parents

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It’s called Reading to Flourish, a new website aimed at providing mental health literature and tools for youth and their parents.

“If we read books about mental health and address mental health early we can take action and prevent things getting worse for the children and the family,” says Kristin Legault, a Western University psychology student.

The team of students have been studying how bibliotherapy can be used to break down the barriers for youth who are too worried to talk about how they’re feeling.

Through the program, “they have someone they can relate to through the stories and have more open communication with their parents about how they are feeling,” explains Jai Ravipati, also a Western psychology student.

That’s where the use of interactive bibliotherapy comes in via the website.

“We post videos about a book and then we post a video where we read the book for the children,” says Sirisha Ravipati from Reading to Flourish. “Later on we hope that people start submitting their own submissions where they read a book and we can discuss and have a ongoing discussion about the mental health topics the books address.”

The website which just launched this week, also has a fundraising component – to raise money to purchase a number of youth mental health books that can be donated to local mental health organizations.

The team feels with everything going on with the pandemic, now more than ever, extra resources for youth mental health are key.

“A lot of kids don’t have structure right now and I anticipate many children are struggling with their mental health right now,” says Legault. “I wanted to provide children and their families with this resource they can use.”