About the Film and Book

Different Kinds of Hurt: Isaac's Story

A letter from the Commissioner

On behalf of the Department of Mental Health, I am delighted you have found Different Kinds of Hurt:Isaac’s Story, developed by youth and mental health experts. Isaac’s Story is a wonderful jumping-off point for conversations about the power of friendship, the pain of stigma, and the importance of paying attention to and encouraging all youth who are wounded somehow to find their strength, rely on friends, family and helpers, hang on to their dreams, and to live a life with joy and meaning. Please use the film, book, and resource materials and be the difference in a child’s life. The best hope of a youth or an adult to recover from mental illness is to be loved and cared for by others. Do not hesitate to contact DMH or any of the resources listed if you know someone who may need help.


Brooke Doyle
Department of Mental Health

The Mission

Different Kinds of Hurt: Isaac’s Story begins with a simple question: “What if we talked about and treated mental health the same as physical health?” For many people, mental health challenges are a taboo subject, even something to be ashamed of. While parents openly share their kids’ medical issues, like broken bones or appendicitis, families are more reluctant to discuss a child whose frequent struggles with anxiety, sadness, anger, or fear impacts their academics, social and home life, and everyday happiness.

In Isaac’s Story, Mia and Isaac openly share how they needed treatment and help with their different medical issues, drawing on the similarities between their experiences and speaking and listening without judgement. If we start talking about mental health early, before stereotypes and stigmas set in, we can change the conversation at a national—and international—level for the next generation.Isaac’s Story is part of a national campaign aimed at:
• Destigmatizing and reframing how we talk about mental health.
• Making mental health and well-being a part of educational curriculum.
• Assuaging fear and confusion for children and caregivers dealing with mental health challenges.
• Empowering kids with a shared vocabulary to talk about mental health.
• Encouraging empathy, kindness, listeningand sharing

Additional Resources

Why talking to kids about mental health is important

  • One-in-ten children have a diagnosable mental health issue.
  •  Children with untreated mental health issues are more likely to self-harm, drop out of school, abuse drugs and alcohol, and be incarcerated.
  • In the last 10 years, suicide rates among adolescents has doubled.
  • For many adults who have mental disorders, symptoms were present — but often not recognized or addressed—in childhood and adolescence.

About the Creators of Isaac's Story

The Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, FableVision Studios, Express Yourself, and Walker, Inc. worked together to develop a public education campaign to raise mental health awareness and de-stigmatize mental health conditions experienced by children and youth. The goal of the campaign is to alleviate fear, stigma, and establish a shared vocabulary for kids, their parents, and other adults, such as educators. The effort also underscores the power of friendship, support, and recovery from mental illness. The campaign includes a short animated film of about “Isaac’s Story,” a picture book and collateral materials such as posters, teacher guides, a student coloring book/work sheet and other campaign materials.

  • The Department of Mental Health, as the State Mental Health Authority, assures and provides access to services and supports to meet the mental health needs of individuals of all ages; enabling them to live, work and participate in their communities. www.mass.gov/dmh
  • Walker provides intensive services for children and youth facing complex emotional, behavioral, and learning challenges. Walker’s multidisciplinary programs extend specialized therapeutic environments beyond their classrooms and residential treatment programs into family homes, public schools and community settings. www.walkercares.org
  • Express Yourself immerses young people in the arts, where they find a powerful tool for self-expression, uncover inner strength, and deepen connection with others. http://www.exyo.org/
  • FableVision Studios is dedicated to helping all learners reach their full potential and to telling “stories that matter, stories that move.” FableVision produces award-winning websites, games, activites, animated films, and mobile apps. http://www.fablevisionstudios.com/

Different Kinds of Hurt: Isaac’s Story Parent/Educator Guide, Film, and Book produced by FableVision Studios in partnership with The Mass Department of Mental Health, Walker, Inc. and Express Yourself. www.mass.gov/isaacs-story

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