Destigmatising conversations on mental health, by playing this card game with friends

The Happiness Initiative team at 2020’s Happiness Film Festival. (PHOTO: Happiness Initiative)
The Happiness Initiative team at 2020’s Happiness Film Festival. (PHOTO: Happiness Initiative)

Singapore social enterprise, Happiness Initiative, releases Let’s Unpack This, an original card game that facilitates important conversations around mental health. Inspired by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, an approach psychologists use to treat mental health conditions, the card game seeks to help players identify their deep-seated beliefs by showing them how these beliefs can affect their relationships and thoughts.

According to an Institute of Mental Health Singapore’s study, one in seven people in Singapore experienced a mood, anxiety or alcohol use disorder in their lifetime. Major Depressive Disorder was the most common mental health issue in Singapore, with one in 16 people have had the condition at some point in their lifetime.

Let's Unpack This card game. (PHOTO: Happiness Initiative)
Let's Unpack This card game. (PHOTO: Happiness Initiative)

As the pandemic dragged on for the past two years, there’s been an increase in Singaporeans who sought help for their mental health.

“In the past few years of running Happiness Initiative, we realised that it’s difficult for many people to talk about their emotions and beliefs. We believe just the opportunity to talk about mental health will allow people to start important conversations, which is why and how we created Let’s Unpack This,” lead game-developer and co-founder of Happiness Initiative, Sherman Ho, shared.

Based on psychology research and studies, Let’s Unpack This encourages players to better understand themselves and their loved ones through meaningful and constructive conversations during its gameplay.

“We all experience life differently depending on our background, whether it’s our gender, race or socioeconomic status. But what is common across every individual is that we all face our own struggles and issues in life. Let’s Unpack This is an important tool to help us talk about some of these issues we face, in the context of our emotions and beliefs, and to help us build better versions of ourselves,” Nicole Tan, Happiness Initiative’s E-Commerce Lead shared.

The card game is designed to be accessible “so anyone could play it without a trained facilitator” as people reconnect with loved ones during gatherings.

“We hope that conversations about mental health will soon become normal in our everyday interactions,” Ho said.

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