This guide is intended to assist you in using the book and film in classrooms, after school programs, community youth programs, and at home to facilitate a follow-up discussion after reading/viewing.
- This page, How to Use the Book and Film in Discussion Groups, is offered by
- Massachusetts Department of Mental Health
How to Use the Book and Film in Discussion Groups
Table of Contents
How to watch the movie or read the book
Different Kinds of Hurt: Isaac’s Story, a brief animated film and graphic novel for elementary and middle school-aged children, shows how an honest conversation about “different kinds of hurting” between two classmates can have a life long effect. Isaac and Mia have been out of school for a while— Mia’s fall sent her to the E.R. and she has a cast and crutches, but Isaac looks fine. He explains that he was in a “different kind of hospital,” one that helps when thoughts and feelings are hurting. As they compare notes about how they knew they needed help, what the hospital and doctors were like, and their fears and hopes for the future, they realize that physical and mental health aren’t all that different; both require sharing your feelings to help the healing.
Follow the links below to watch video or read the book.
Discussion prompts after watching/reading Isaac’s Story
Use these prompts to create a dialogue about Isaac's Story and mental health.
- What did you like about the story?
- How are Isaac’s and Mia’s experiences the same? How are they different?
- What words would you use to describe how Isaac was feeling before he went to the hospital?
- How does the movie/book use pictures to show Isaac’s feelings?
- What are Mia's and Isaac’s dreams/hopes for when they grow up?
- Why are Isaac and Mia worried that they won’t be able to grow up to be a teacher/firefighter?
- What do you think helped them achieve their goals and dreams?
- Could you relate to parts of the story? Which ones?
- Can you think of someone you know who had to go to the hospital for help like Mia or Isaac?
- Why was Isaac worried about telling his friends about not feeling well?
- How would you respond to a friend who said they felt worried, anxious, or sad? What would you say or do to help them?
- Who would you tell if you were feeling lonely, sad, or angry? Why is it important to tell someone?
Talking to talk to kids about Mental Health
- Actively Communicate in a straightforward manner that’s developmentally appropriate for the child.
- Never use derogatory language or slang when describing people with mental illness. It is helpful to draw parallels to those with physical illness.
- Use “person first” language: has depression (or anxiety) vs is depressed (or anxious).
- Be kind and compassionate when talking to or about people with mental health issues and recognize that there are many different experiences that people can have.
- If applicable, be honest about your own struggles and encourage the child to share their thoughts and feelings.