Cobb County 10-year-old starts nationwide conversation around mental health

“He is a world changer.”
Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 4:59 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - A Cobb County 5th grader is learning to deal with grief with the snap of a rubber band! He started a conversation around mental health that has gone from his classroom, to his home, to people across the country.

Dealing with grief as an adult is hard enough. Dealing with grief as a 5th grader is another process entirely.

”My heavenly family, those are the people who have passed in my life,” said 10-year-old, Takari Tatum.

After losing his grandfather from sickness and shortly after, his aunt to COVID, Takari saw grief set into the lives of the people he loves.

”I thought we were doing okay until I realized that 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 school student was asked to create a community service project. He decided to focus on mental health by creating rubber band bracelets with a purpose.

”If you are stressed, then snapping your bracelet will remind you that it is okay not to be okay, and instead of feeling ashamed about your feelings, embrace them,” said Takari.

Eventually, NAMI reached out to Takari. His idea went from a school project to an organization called The Rubber Band Mentality.

He sets up booths all over the country and tells his story, handing out bracelets and NAMI resources.

”He gives up his weekends to set up booths around Georgia and around the country, really to talk about mental health,” said Gwen.

With the snap of a rubber band, a 10-year-old is learning how to live with loss. The same sound is leading people all over the country to mental health help, that can save lives.

”He is a world changer, no doubt. I think we are going to see a lot more from him. I don’t think he is finished yet,” said, Varner Elementary teacher, Laurie Mendenhall.