ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) – A Cobb County 5th grader learns to manage his grief with the snap of a rubber band! He started a conversation about mental health that went from his classroom to his home, to people across the country.
Coping with grief as an adult is hard enough. Dealing with grief as a 5th grader is a whole different process.
“My celestial family is the people who have passed through my life,” 10-year-old Takari Tatum said.
After losing his grandfather to illness and soon after his aunt to COVID, Takari has seen grief creep into the lives of the people he loves.
“I thought we were fine until I realized we weren’t,” said Gwen Tatum, Takari’s grandmother.
The person who started the conversation about mental health in the family was Takari. During the school year, the elementary student was asked to create a community service project. He decided to focus on mental health by creating elastic bracelets with a purpose.
“If you’re stressed, snapping your bracelet will remind you that it’s okay to be unwell, and instead of being ashamed of your feelings, embrace them,” Takari said.
Eventually, NAMI contacted Takari. His idea grew from a school project to an organization called The Rubber Band Mentality.
He sets up booths across the country and tells his story, handing out NAMI wristbands and resources.
“He gives up his weekends to set up booths in Georgia and around the country, really to talk about mental health,” Gwen said.
With the snap of a rubber band, a 10-year-old child learns to live with loss. The same sound leads people across the country to mental health help, which can save lives.
“He is a world changer, without a doubt. I think we’re going to see a lot more of him. I don’t think he’s finished yet,” said Varner Elementary teacher Laurie Mendenhall.
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