MESH PRODUCTS - STORYTELLING - Part 4 in a 6-Part Series

by Rachele Harmuth | 27 Apr 2023

Industry Commentary, Op-Ed


Part 4 in a 6-Part Series


Thinkfun turns their focus to the global youth mental health crisis and how play can make all the difference in protecting and strengthening children and teens.  The company’s new initiative brings together stakeholders from all over the toys and games industry with the challenge: how do we build MESH (Mental, Emotional and Social Health) skills through play?


In this bi- weekly column for The Bloom Report, we will look into the different areas of this initiative in depth. This week we share an overview of the initiative. 


A great deal of the worry adults have about kids’ mental health is in not knowing how to know when kids are struggling. Children and teens need the skills required to explain what’s happening to them and how they’re feeling. 


Sounds simple, right? But really, this means that kids need to be able to:


  • Notice what’s happening
  • Understand their own reaction to it
  • Be able to communicate clearly what they experienced and feel
  • Trust an adult enough to tell them about it


Play that is based in storytelling provides the mechanism for children to learn how to notice what is happening and explain their own reactions and observations to others. Storytelling play strengthens insight into how a character is feeling or reacting which builds empathy for themselves and other people. This in turn helps them understand how to effectively communicate their own experiences. Chances to explain to others what stories they have created or recreated in play offers practice that they can rely on later in more difficult communication circumstances.


Anytime children can build communication skills in their play they will be better able to handle the conversations that can protect and strengthen them through mental health challenges later.  Storytelling play leads into strong self-advocacy, which has been proven to be a life-saving skill when mental health issues arise. 


“Storytelling play not only builds imagination, but it’s critical for the development of communication skills. These are essential for our children’s success in the ability to explain what they are experiencing. ” Rachele Harmuth, Head of ThinkFun.


For more information on the MESH initiative, please visit

mesh mental health emotional health social health

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