B.C. program uses video game Minecraft to help children process grief

Losing a loved one is difficult at any age. But for children, the loss is particularly acute.

Now, a new innovative therapy is helping kids deal with grief using something they are familiar with: video games.

Twelve-year-old Beckett loves playing Minecraft, a wildly popular game. He also participates in a new program called “Lumaria” which uses a virtual Minecraft world to help children deal with grief.

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“It’s fun, and nice to talk about, too … it kind of takes your mind off of talking about it, and more onto Minecraft which makes it easier to talk,” he said.

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Beckett, who lost his father, contributed to the program.

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It was created by therapist Meaghan Jackson through the charity Lumara Grief and Bereavement Care Society.

“I’ve been facilitating children’s grief groups for about 17 years now and I have never witnessed such an excited and engaged response in this process,” Jackson said.

During two-hour long sessions, up to eight kids do a virtual campfire check-in and have an opportunity to remember and honour their deceased loved one.

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“It really helps to create a space where children are free to express themselves,” Jackson said.

The week-long facilitated camps are $35, and there are also monthly meetups.

“It’s a pretty good place to relax and talk about your loss, and nice and fun in the process,” Beckett said.

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The innovative therapy is proving beneficial for kids like Beckett, as they deal with the death of a loved one, giving them an outlet for their feelings and a chance to meet other kids also facing a loss.

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