A Playful Approach to Drug Prevention: How to Do Drug Prevention Without Talking About Drugs

Today we are speaking with Anne-Kristin Imenes, Senior counselor/psychologist specialist in Norway in the latest episode of our Pathways 2 Prevention Podcast. She shared a wonderful program that addresses mental health and life skills called Robust Youth.

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What is Robust Youth?

Robust Youth is a 3-year program in mental health and life skills for youth age 13 – 15 years old in secondary schools in Norway. The teaching has a playful approach to promote the students’ wellbeing and sense of belonging. Through structured exercises the students build relations while at the same time training their social-emotional skills. This can happen through developing inner awareness, learning to understand one’s own and others’ feelings and needs, developing responsibility for others, seeing oneself as part of a larger context and understanding society’s complexity. The approach is built on positive psychology and cognitive-behavioral psychology. The exercises and tools are freely available on their website too!

Episode Links:

Drug Free America Foundation Links:


Dave: Have you noticed a proliferation of advertisements for Delta eight at gas stations, convenience stores, and smoke shops? Did you know that these products are intoxicating, unregulated, and they’re often sold to youth – resulting in an increase in poisoning in children and animals. Take a few minutes to go to the Drug-Free America Foundation website and check out our new resource, what to Know about Delta eight.

And that link will be in these show notes for you to find nice and easy.

Dave: Hey everybody. This is Dave Closson from the team here at the Drug-Free America Foundation, and you’re listening to the Pathways 2 Prevention podcast, the show where we chat with stakeholders from across the drug demand reduction spectrum about current trends in the global substance use pandemic strategies to reduce drug demand, and how to best adapt those strategies to the ever-shifting substance use landscape.

Today we are talking about a program in mental health and life skills called Robust Youth. Robust Youth is a three year program for youth age 13 to 15 years old and secondary schools in Norway. The teaching has a playful approach to promote the student’s wellbeing and sense of belong.

Through structured exercises and play the students build relations while at the same time training their social emotional skills. This can happen through developing inner awareness, learning to understand one’s own and others’ feelings and needs, developing responsibility for others and seeing oneself as part of a larger context.

The approach is built on positive psychology and cognitive behavioral psychology. The exercises and tools are also freely available on the website. This is a fun episode and you’ll definitely wanna share it with a friend. Without further ado, I am honored to welcome Anne Kristen to the show. Welcome. 

Anne-Kristin: Thank you so much.

 It is marvelous to see you again. Listeners. We had a, a conversation beforehand to prep for today, so we’re, we’re quickly becoming friends, but for our listeners, would you mind sharing, uh, a little bit about yourself and maybe what led you to working in your current.

Anne-Kristin: I am a trained, child psychologist and for many years I received young kids into my office, but many of their problems can’t be solved in an office. You know, they maybe be lacking friends. They, they lack a sort of sense and belonging or meaning in life. It’s very hard to create, you know, friends in an office or change social skills.

In an office. So when I got the chance to develop sort of a program for schools that these kids could benefit from, especially the vulnerable kids, I was so happy because many of the things, many of the knowledges I have, can actually be made, you know, into youth in the public or for the teachers or for the students themselves in schools.

and that’s that opportunity I received. Because we have a state in Norway that, you know, they give out funds to different courses. drug prevention is an important thing and so is, uh, enhancing young people’s mental health. and, and prevent them from dropping out of schools. So there we have state fundings available for good projects and I got the chance to, to lead one of those projects to see, other things we can do in schools that these kids will, enjoy doing and feel is meaningful and helpful and the teachers will be able to carry out without.

Anne-Kristin: Costing too much money.

That’s my pathway.

Dave: So you saw a need and an opportunity was presented, and you, you stepped right up, stepped

right into that 

Anne-Kristin: I stepped right up because I, I had been longing for this for so many years because there’s just so much you can do in an office.and for young people to go into an, an office to see a psychologist, that’s a huge step. And it’s, you know, a way out of a comfort zone many times as well.

What they need is help in the environment where they are.

Dave: so often in just in prevention we, we talk about the importance of needing to meet people where they are at, and it makes perfect sense working with the children as well, 

Anne-Kristin: so Yeah. Yeah.

Dave: can you. Tell me a little bit, bit about some of the, the problems that you’ve seen some of those, those risk factors as we, we call it.

Anne-Kristin: Risk factors are, for instance, usually, you know, the biggest one is lack of friends. everyone needs a friend. just one friend is enough, but you need to have someone, in your classroom or in school that that is, is there for you. if you are not at school, then if you, if you don’t know who to ask, you have someone and one friend is really important.

And also to have Classroom environment so that you can be, be yourself and be relaxed. I mean, so many kids out there sit day in and day out for hours and they don’t feel safe. They have the shoulders high, they don’t want to show themselves in any way. They, they want to be as quiet as possible and, and not raise their hand or attract attention of any kind.

Cause they’re scared of each other. And they go to school, you know, for three years, four years, five years, and in the same class over the same students. And they, they don’t know each other. they speak with the same people in the, you know, in the same groups. All the time about the same things. And there are other kids, a lot of other kids they never speak to.

So they go around and they don’t know each other and you can’t, this, this leads to a lot of loneliness and also leads to young people being socially insecure and it creates sort of an EMT and, if you don’t feel good about yourself and if you lone you feel like you don’t belong in society cause you don’t belong in the class and nobody’s missing you, well, but that’s a risk factor. Then you need maybe to bond with something else to, sort of fill up that.

void in you, to calm the negative feelings you have. so you bond with something else. You bond with, too much computer gaming or, or porn, or you bond with eating too much or you bond with drugs because it becomes a way to deal with the difficult emotions that you get. Loneliness is. it’s such a huge risk factor.

it’s a pathway to so much trouble and bad feelings and emotional distress and psychological issues and even bad physical health. I mean, I think if we can work on the loneliness issues, if we can work on people connecting more and we can strengthening, belonging, you know, we can prevent so much.

Dave: and I think you know where I’m headed. the program that, that you’re working in speaks to that, those risk factors, the, the loneliness. Am I, am I correct?

Anne-Kristin: Yes, absolutely. that’s our main purpose, is to, try to create a school environment and especially a classroom environment that these young kids make them, you know, thrive. Make them enjoyable to school, make them more confident with each other. So, and you also know how, how do we do that? That’s a big question and that’s what we’re trying to figure out.

What’s the easiest way? what can be done easily and actually have an impact?

Dave: Tell me about the, the program. What, what are sort of the, the components or how does it work?

Anne-Kristin: Well, it’s a three year program. It’s for the 13, 14th, and 15 year old kids in Norway, in some schools. And, the, the main goal is like, promote mental health and, and do prevention work, teach life skills. And, the program has three components. , they get some knowledge, like 15 minutes pep talk about different issues.

but the main thing is to happen in the classroom where the teachers as they, lead different kinds of exercises. Um, this is for, for about an hour every month. they listen to stories, they talk about these stories. They have what we called, something called, cooperative learning exercise.

Anne-Kristin: They work together in groups and they do play together playful exercises that are non-competitive and fun for everyone. And this becomes a mix, that young people say, this is good. This is fun. We look forward to these lessons. the main success factor is not, it’s not the teaching, it’s not the, the teachers talking about, you know, what’s good and bad for your health or what’s good for us.

the teach the, the kids, they learn mostly from each other. you know, from talking about new things I never have talked about and connecting, and, and. They just love to play. Can you imagine 13 years old, 15 years old when they discover play and how they can actually do this in class.

They just love it

and they can’t get enough of it, you know? What does it say about our time that people we need to rediscover play?

Dave: Tell me more. I, I am intrigued. I, I’m sitting here trying to remember back when I was 13, 14, 15 years old, and looking for, for that fun, the, the play in my life. Tell me more. I’m intrigued.

Anne-Kristin: Yes. we used to play more than kids do today because they start, playing, much of their play is going on, online. It’s, it’s a play. With their computers or play with their phones. and many of the games we used to play are sort of lost knowledge. We need to rediscover that and introduce it to them and how this is actually a necessary tool for us.

So what happens is that I discover that so many kids, they don’t know. There’s normal, usual plays, games, exercises that I thought everyone knew. No, they don’t and they don’t feel comfortable doing it either, and it’s very strange for them to know. Hold hands in a group with your, your classmates, and stand in a ring or hit someone in the head with a newspaper and say their name.

And, and react quickly as I do these physical exercises where you kind of run across the classroom and you do some strange thing and you laugh suddenly. That’s a new experience for a lot of kids. And, and they need to figure, and this is what you’re, this is about, learning, you know, stepping out to a comfort zone a little bit and do something that’s funny and strange and unusual.

And, and maybe it’s, you know, it. Uncomfortable for a few seconds, but it’s fun. it’s, it’s funny when you start realize, wow, we’re laughing, we’re having a good moment together. we’re, we’re we, you. You tumble down on the floor together with a boy that you’ve never spoken to before, and you share just a moment of joy. And when that happens, some sort of, you know, a moment is created, a memory is created, and it’s easier to talk to one other, each other afterwards.

 both the teachers, myself and the students are, you know, surprised by, Effect two minute play can have, three minute exercise that is, something completely new.

the purpose is not to perform, but just to have fun break the ice together with those people that you, you know, learning new stuff is, is, it’s hard because you have to do something you’re not used to. You’re out in the comfort zone all the time, but it’s hard to, and these people that you are together with in the class, you are sort of, if you feel comfortable around each other, is so much easier to learn new stuff together as well. And it’s harder to bully someone. You had fun. and it’s, easier to look forward to the next day when you had fun the previous day. we want everyone to have these long feelings, moments of connect, of feeling, connected, moments of feeling. I am in the group. I, we laugh together. Even though you have, you come from a bad background, you have adhd, you don’t have many friends, but you can have moments of feeling on friend.

 so, so the kids, when I ask them, you know, what, what do you appreciate the most? They say the games. what can, you know, what do you, what do you need? what do you, you think yourself that can actually, you know, prevent bullying or prevent snitching or prevent young culture or prevent, drug abuse?

Anne-Kristin: They say we need. To bond. We need to get to know each other because it’s hard. Those, all those bad things happen because people don’t feel good about themselves. But we can actually create experiences in the classroom that they, people do feel better about themselves. 

 it’s so simple. It’s hard, even hard to explain.

Anne-Kristin: So when I teach this, I teach the teachers about this. . The only way is to play, you know, we have to do the exercises with them. I throw up balloons and I say, I want you to cooperate now to keep those balloons in the air

okay, you have to maybe throw yourself at your neighbor or stand up and run around, but please do you have, this is your task.

Keep those balloons in the air now. Please do. And what happens immediately is that people. Smiling and laughing and reaching out and looking at the neighbors and, and being physical with each other, which is it something you never do unless you’re told

and they realize, wow, just a few balloons, and we become so playful, we become so free.

How, you know, how can that be, that balloons can transform us, make us courageous, like. Socially courageous. That’s, that’s a mystic, that’s the magic of of play.

Dave: there’s so much wisdom in what you just shared. I would not do it justice to summarize it all, but some of the things that really jumped out at me through encouraging play fun creates an an environment where it’s okay, it’s safe to step outside of your comfort zone, whatever that comfort zone may be, and finding joy.

In that process of stepping outside your comfort zone and with that joy that fosters that happiness, that fun, the moments of connection, sense of belonging, and also I’m wondering too little resilience as well from stepping outside of the comfort zone and it being okay.

Anne-Kristin: Yeah. And we realized we can’t do this, you know, one or two times doesn’t do the magic. It needs to be incorporated in the way the school teach. and they do, do it, need to do it on a regular basis because there are kids. Teenagers who lack basic social skills. Like how to, initiate play, how to, regulate your emotions when you, someone is bumping into you.

how to apologize if you step on someone’s toes. how to play in a pro-social way and not in a way where you laugh at some. But you actually laugh together and you try to play in a way that feels good for everyone. and you know, these ways of interacting you need to actually practice.

Anne-Kristin: And then you realize, then you discover what play can do and what play is for.

And it’s not because if, if you don’t teach the kids how to play in a pro-social way, they can use these plays to bully. You know, they can make it harder. They can make it uncomfortable. so we teach the teachers how, not just to play, initiate a game or exercise, but to choose the right kind of exercise for your class and to make it comfortable for everyone and make the kids take responsibility for each other and, and to carry this out in a way that feels good for everyone.

So you create lasting memories. Makes it easier for everyone to go to school the next day. It makes it harder to treat someone bad later on. so we believe, believe this prevents a lot of things. It’s hard to measure, but believe that, you know, if you get these daily exercises regularly, it does something to your self-esteem, your social, social skills.

And I think. , you know, whenever you are with people and, and there’s a, sense of, you know, this, this group of people need something because we need to do something to have fun. We need to break the ice. This is comfortable. When we teach these kids 60 different games or exercises that they do, that becomes part of the repertoire of how to be with people and have.

Without it costing money, but you know, so that’s what we see. That’s, that’s impact. We see that they actually choose to play when they have played for a long time. They choose to play and they initiate plays themselves, and they come up in new games and exercises, and they actually want to do this.

Instead of doing cahoot or watching television or sit with their phones, they choose exercises instead of their phones. Which is I think is beautiful.

Dave: Yes. Oh, that that is, that is, and I know you mentioned that. The, the play, it, it needs to be ingrained in their daily routines there at school. That it’s not just one time. And I’m just reminded of change. Adults, children learning. It’s not just from a one time event. It’s that compound that is gonna foster and create that growth, create that change.

And same, same concept applies here with.

Anne-Kristin: Yeah. And I also think, many, many kids complain about school being so boring and that they, they hate school. They, they hate the methods. They, and they don’t feel good in school. I think by, by spending two, three minutes doing fun exercises, you sort of create, do something to the social atmosphere.

And so the learning environment becomes a little easier for some people, some kids to be in.

Um, because in these games, it doesn’t matter what grade you get, it doesn’t matter how well you speak your language, it doesn’t matter what background you have. You sort of are all a one gang,

just having fun and you can use maybe the clown of the class all of a sudden can, you know, feel that his skills are important, and he can do something good for other people.

So we, we think that some kids. Moment during these exercises and they flourish and I get to do that and maybe, you know, they’re more later on when they have more difficult exercises to do.

we want, especially the kids that come from,backgrounds that are not so filled with resources, they, they haven’t been to a lot.

Extracurricular activities, they don’t feel good in anything. They haven’t learned to play by attending camps or, or scouting or, no, they just haven’t had all these social training areas and they, they don’t feel that they belong to society. They don’t feel like they can, you know, be themselves and relax and feel belonging.

So I believe this can make one kid actually feel that I belong in this class and I can have fun with this class and these are my mates and we care about each other. He sort of help that kids, or not belong only to your class, but belong in society. And he helped that kid to be able to express himself and his emotions in that group to train, you know, emotional skills as well. And. , you believe that, if you play the next step is that you can, can talk and can also talk about feelings. And at the very end, we want people to be able to communicate when they have bad days or bad feelings. So they don’t hide those feelings through the whole childhood.

But I learned to express feelings and this is especially important for, for boys. To be able to express just normal feelings during the day and get acknowledgement and get support from your peers. but this is a skill that needs to be taught

and maybe in that way we can prevent drug being a solution down the road. Because you’ll never learn to express your feelings to anyone or seek help. You know, verbal skills have to be trained, expressing emotions, have to be trained, but need to be trained in a safe environment and not threatening way and an easy way. And the easy way is through play because nature, nature, that’s, that’s what nature in sort of provided us with a need to play. That need to play, sort of make sure that we humans learn social skills by themselves and start training on those social skills from the moment they’re born.

They initiate play and that we way we learn language, belonging,social skills that play playfulness is a tool.

Dave: you mentioned so eloquently the importance of emotions, but then also talking about them.

how how can we as professionals, Facilitate everyday conversations with children or how do we, how do we make it so children want to talk to us as adults?

Anne-Kristin: Oh, that’s a very important question. How do we talk so they want to talk to us? How do we listen so they want to, to talk to us and listen to us? I’ve been working on that a lot. And, I think adults have, we have a tendency to make this very complicated and think that we have to have the right questions or the right methods, or the, or the right surroundings or right moments.

Well, for kids, they, they want us to grab that moment they’re in and be with them in those moments and make them fun because, To, to train kids, to be able to talk, to train them, to, to seek help, to train them, to, have trust in adults. We need to make it easy and we need to practice in everyday activities.

Because if you can’t, if you can’t have a natural dialogue about natural things and talk and make the conversation go about, you know, my feelings are, and your feelings are in this situation, and that was fun and I laughed and you laugh. That was hard for yes, hard for me, too comfortable. Have that dialogue about normal things.

there’s no way you can have a dialogue with that child about hard.

Anne-Kristin: So what kids need to experience is that adults actually have an interest in their feelings

and in their emotions. That their emotions are important. We want to listen to them. It’s important what they have to say, although it’s just ordinary stuff.

We want to listen

and whatever their child is focused on, we are interested in that thing and we continue conversation about that thing or that emotion.

And start that sort of dialogue that just carries on.

it’s always the, the, the adults grownups responsibility to create that safe environment and to go into what that child is asking about or interested in and talk about those things.

Anne-Kristin: What we do in play is that the adults say, don’t ask if you want to, we say we do the exercise, and you, you, give out the rules and you say how they should interact and you make sure everyone is able to participate because it’s an easy thing to do. And afterwards you can talk with what happened, how is it good, uh, how does it feel?

We start that kind of conversation. And then we can, you know, introduce other kinds of questions that are not just ordinary questions like, Talk two minutes about what’s nice to watch on television. talk about two minutes about your sleep last night. talk two minutes about, the last time someone actually apologized to you.

How does that feel, or talk two minutes about, gratitude. You know, has someone done something lately that made you feel. something you appreciated very much. Share those moments. So we give out really small exercises, but always after the play, after the play because you need to ease the atmosphere before you go into those.

Questions. and it’s all, it’s easier to, to talk when it’s done in a playful mode. And you can make it into a game. It’s always easier. So what these kids do without realizing, they call it play, we call it exercises or icebreakers or whatever, but they experience this as play because it’s new, you know, has some game feeling to it.

They think they’re play, but actually what they’re doing is practicing social skills.

They’re practicing expressing themselves. They’re practicing being comfortable around people and and taking care of each other.

Practicing how to, can we include everyone? Because that’s the purpose of play.

Everyone needs to be in, otherwise it’s not fun. So they practice how to include everyone. Even the ones with the guy who is weird or wearing black clothes or come from a not so good background. Even the one with disabilities, they practice. How can we include everyone? Because that’s the purpose of play and they don’t know they’re practicing.

That’s the fun of it. It doesn’t feel.

Dave: It feels fun.

Anne-Kristin: it feels fun.

Dave: Yes. One thing that I heard when you were talking about us as adults, you know, facilitating those conversations and hoping to make it so children want to talk to us, is I was feeling the the importance of just. Being present in the moments. I, I feel like we as adults too, we always have something on our mind.

We’re thinking about our to-do list, our work, our, our chores, projects, our phones,

Anne-Kristin: Mm-hmm.

Dave: but being just, it, it, I don’t, I might be oversimplifying, but just being present with the child, whatever it may.

Anne-Kristin: whatever it may be, and not have an agenda. For what you want to do with the child or ask the child or, or figure out about the child. But just be there and share the moment. So when I talk to parents, I say, well, you know, just 15 minutes of play every day. It’s much better than doing it once a week, just 15 minutes, where you follow the child’s lead and try not to think about washing dishes.

Or cleaning. Just be there and follow the lead and do whatever. Yeah. Being playful. 15 minutes, that’s enough. You don’t have to do 

much. And we try to teach teachers that play doesn’t take a long time to clear away the space and, and bring out some chairs. Takes three minutes to complete an exercise and you have a whole new atmosphere.

You have kids that are so more. I want to cooperate.

And the same with parents and children. Just 10 minutes, 15 minutes every day. It’s easy or it’s not easy. It’s difficult for adults, but, but we gain so much if we give those moments

to the child. 

Dave: what has been some of the feedback from the teachers or the parents?

Anne-Kristin: The teachers say surprisingly, that, you know, because most teachers say we have so much to do and not another thing we have to do, we have to worry about the next test of the test scores and, and practice so and so well when we force them to do this. Because the principal, you know, he just says, everyone has to do this.

This is important. they say, wow, amazing. This is useful. This is helpful. . It’s true, it helps. we do have the time. It doesn’t take much time. and we gain something we gain something in every way, and we can see how the, the change in the students. in the atmosphere. so I ask them, why don’t you do this by yourself?

Because you, you, you, it’s not difficult. maybe you know these exercises in beforehand. You know, why is it it’s so hard to actually do these simple things in the school day? And they say, well, we forget. We forget because there are so many chores, so many tasks, so much pressure. As a teacher, we forget to use these exercises. So what we need is actually the principal to, we need him to say, he or her to actually order us to do these things and say, you know, once a week, and this is a game and this is a the week, the game of the week. please do this because it’s so important to build a social environment this way and teach social skills.

and, make the teenagers do it and start early on because then they get used to it. If the principal order us to, we’re happy to do it because we see it’s so useful and the parents become, we have parent meetings and we also play with the parents because, because we want them to experience, you 

know, the magic.

So we threw up balloons with the parents as well,

and they, they say I wish, I wish my son could have more of this, or I wish I, my school, my school class could have done anything like this because I know I didn’t, I didn’t feel comfortable with school. I didn’t know my classmates, I have felt loneliness and they, they immediately see why this is important.

Anne-Kristin: And no one complains that the school spend a few minutes doing this instead of just teaching english.

It’s actually very, very easy to get the teachers and the parents on board on this, but the hardest stuff, the hard, the, you know, the barrier obstacle? Mm-hmm. , the obstacle is all the grownups that have forgotten how to. And who are not comfortable doing physical exercises in the classroom, and they’re not even comfortable arranging play in the classroom because it means it gets a bit noisy and teenagers, especially 13, 14 years old, they sweat.

It becomes warm and they scream, and Some young, some adults, although there are teachers you need to practice. the feeling of I lost control now. This is a bit of chaos.

And, you know, learn, they learn to need to say that. Well, it’s not chaos for a few minutes is, it’s play and play needs to be, feel a little bit chaotic, a little bit dangerous.

Otherwise it’s not.

So we train teachers and we train them, to step out of the comfort zone, and we know that we have seen, we, we practice with ’em. They, well, they practice with each other once a month. They practice three, four games with each other. Can you imagine teachers.

Dave: teachers getting together to play.

Anne-Kristin: To play and, and, and do. They crawl on the floor and they sit on the floor and they jump on chairs and they play with the balloons and they, and do fun stuff and, and they like it.

and I feel more alive because they’re tired. You know, they’re tired after five, six hours of school. And then they have a meeting, a boring meeting, usually very, very boring with the principal talking a lot.

And instead of that, they, they play and they feel more, and I feel, whoa. Energized. Hmm. This is fun. And we, we discover that young adults need that too.

And it doesn’t take long time.

Dave: beautiful. I, I can’t help but smile when I, I picture the, the teachers having, some fun and playing together as well. It just makes me smile. It does. Just thinking about it. 

Anne-Kristin: Yeah.

  1. ,we. need to move about. yeah, that’s also part of doing, being at school, being less boring. it need to be able to move about, be a bit physical, get oxygen to our brains, and, breathe differently. Not in a stressful way, but a relaxed way 

and look at each other. , just make sure we do those things.

But doing it play is an easy way to do those things without even thinking about it.

Dave: what’s on the horizon? What’s next for For play in schools?

Anne-Kristin: Oh, I dream about a play revolution Now we have this school program in some schools in Norway, but it’s spreading because we made it free of charge and we made all the resources available on the internet. We made all the exercises and games, can be downloaded for anyone to use all over, you know, whether it’s in.

 extracurricular activities or after school activities or at home or in camps or in schools. So we encourage people to just download and start playing. I guess what’s next is always to get more teachers and, and adults to realize this is a tool that we need to, to, be confident using, but to be confident, you need to practice.

Anne-Kristin: You need to step out of your comfort zone yourself. And I guess what’s next is to also make the teachers and all adults realize whenever you have a group of kids, you have a responsibility to make sure it feels good to be part of that group, and that wherever you are, you can do prevention work by, creating a sense of belong.

every day, every moment, every time we meet, create a sense of belonging. You are important. You belong. and we have a responsibility for each other in this group and practice conversation with everyone. Be interested in everyone, in every child.

Dave: how can our listeners that are all around the globe learn more, get involved, or stay up to date on what you’ve got going on?

Uh, we have a website, uh, it’s called Robust Use. Well, robust. In Norwegian. So this, you know, it’s free, it’s online, but unfortunately it’s in Norwegian. So of, of course, we could do some translation work. But I guess, I guess the basic thing is,we, we will, keep looking for exercises that.

icebreakers and games, share them with other people, start using them. Follow our website. We will try to communicate in English whenever it’s possible. And, planet youth is also a very good organization

Anne-Kristin: to, to follow if you want to know more about how. Build safe atmosphere, safe environment for kids, and prevent opportunities for kids to feel good about themselves.

Dave: and listeners, I think you know, by now. But I will put links to the websites and Planet Youth as well in these show notes, so you can scroll down and find those quick and easy. Well, we’ve been chatting for, for a little while now, and I’d like to ask one last question before we, we close out. If you were to say to our listeners, , if you’re gonna remember one thing from this podcast, remember this, what would that be? 

one thing, one message would be, Doing prevention work, the most important thing might possibly be to make young people feel that they belong, that they have a place in society, that they are valuable, to everyone, that they have to, to work on a sense of belonging, sense of connection. Sense of belonging is young people’s gateway to feel they belong in society but to create that sense of belonging, we need to work on people, young people getting to know each other and feel relaxed. that’s the main key to good psychological and mental health and prevent problems later.

Dave: Marvelous wisdom. And I won’t even try to sum it up because you did so beautifully. 

Anne-Kristin: Thank you. 

Dave: It has been, a, a delight. And I must say I’m feeling inspired and motivated to go get some balloons and take a little pause in my workday for some play as well. thank you very much for bringing joy, bringing play, bringing fun back into the schools, back into the world, and thank you for this conversation.

Anne-Kristin: Thank you.