Breaking Modern Loneliness: A Workshop on Mental Health

Presented by Blue Boy Foundation, The Jed Foundation, and Microsoft

Safeguarding the well-being of young people

The transition to adulthood can be a difficult time of life changes, milestones, and sometimes overwhelming challenges or things we feel are out of our control. During this time, many teenagers and young adults experience emotions such as sadness, anxiety, loneliness, and hopelessness. It is important not only to validate their experiences but also to raise their awareness of good emotional health, encourage authentic human connectivity, and help them develop the life skills to support themselves and others.

Lauv and My blue thoughts

Ari Leff “Lauv” writes and performs songs that express his thoughts on life’s challenges and emotional health. Knowing that others too deal with emotional issues, he began setting up a “My blue thoughts” box at his shows so his fans could anonymously share their feelings and experiences by writing them down and slipping them into the box. Then, through a partnership with Microsoft, the “My blue thoughts” box transformed into a website and computer terminals installed in Lauv’s performance venues. With the use of Microsoft AI speech-to-text and text-analytics technology, the My blue thoughts website lets users ages 16 and up share what is on their minds and search for other users’ thoughts from around the world by entering keywords

Breaking modern loneliness: a workshop on mental health

Based conceptually on the website, the one-hour-long Breaking modern loneliness workshop teaches young people ages 13 and up the importance of good emotional health. Developed in partnership with JED, the workshop reaches across diverse cultural contexts to help participants devise an action plan for navigating life’s challenges. The plan is based on taking action in two areas: self-care and caring for others. Guided by the National Health Education Standards as put forth by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Breaking modern loneliness workshop intends for participants to take away a sense of connectedness, awareness of skills for boosting and maintaining emotional well-being, and access to resources to help themselves and others who may be struggling.

To facilitate or participate in a workshop, see the assets below: