SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – This week on Kids Under Construction, parenting journalist and expert Donna Tetreault speaks with Michael Jann and Michele Jourdan, writers of the new animated family film, “Bug Therapy.”
The film follows a mosquito who wants to overcome her fear of blood by attending group therapy. During her adventures, she realizes everyone struggles with something in life and that’s perfectly normal.
“We’re trying to speak to everybody—kids and adults alike—that we’re all human, we’re all gonna struggle with something and that’s okay,” says Jourdan.
Through “Bug Therapy,” the writers want to normalize the idea of speaking about one’s mental health and to end the stigma surrounding the topic.
The writers recall tackling the subject through comedy as a way to knock down walls of defense when discussing mental health.
“You can’t solve a problem if you can’t talk about it and you probably can’t talk about it if you can’t joke about it,” explains Jann.
The writers saw comedy as a way to successfully tackle serious issues while sticking to a family-friendly format.
The all-star cast includes Dr. Phil McGraw, Meghan Trainor, Jay Leno, Sterling K. Brown, Tom Green, Emily Goglia, and Jason Reisig. Jann and Jourdan say all of the actors are staunch supporters of mental health advocacy, which is what initially attracted them to the project.
For parents who are struggling or concerned about introducing their children into therapy, Jann says children are quick learners who can adjust to the idea of addressing mental health quicker than you may expect.
To watch the full conversation with ABC4’s Emily Clark, Tetreault, and “Bug Therapy” writers Jann and Jourdan, check out the video above.