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Mental Health

Recovery Cup: 2016 First Nations Edition


Author: BC Schizophrenia Society


This cooperative game teaches helpful self-care and recovery concepts for families who have a loved in recovery from a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia. The board and card imagery for this game version have been developed in partnership with the Strengthening Families Together First Nations Edition program.

Before you begin

The cards may be printed on laser-ready pre-perforated card stock, double-sided, with the images on one side. The game board may be printed at a print shop on large format paper or on several pages then taped together to form a board. Other necessary pieces are:

  • 2 dice

  • 1 250ml cup for each player

  • 1 game marker for each player

  • Enough beans or glass blobs of one colour to fill one of the player cups

  • Enough beans or glass blobs of a different colour to fill as many cups as you have players

Rules and instructions

  1. The game board is unrolled and laid on a table, taping it down if needed to keep it flat.

  2. The two packs of cards should be placed near the board, ready for play.

  3. Every player gets a cup and a game marker. The game marker is placed on the board where it says ‘Start’.

  4. There should be a lot of game pieces of one colour (e.g.: green), and a few of another (e.g.: blue). The blue pieces represent genetic vulnerability to mental illness, the things a person is born with which makes them more likely to experience illness. The other pieces represent the ‘environmental factors’, which are things that happen during a person’s life, or things they do, that may trigger psychotic symptoms.

  5. Each player in turn rolls the dice. The number rolled is the number of blue genetic vulnerability pieces that get put in that person’s cup. The rest of the cup gets filled to the top with the other colour of pieces. A full cup means that person has active psychosis symptoms – delusions, hallucinations and paranoia. Psychosis is a set of symptoms that are part of several mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or clinical depression. All players start out with a full cup.

  6. The person who rolled the highest starts the game first, by rolling the dice again and moving their game marker along the board. They may go forward or backwards or follow any branch of the board they wish, as long as they only go one direction within a turn. This means that you can go forward or backward, but only forward or only backward in a single turn.

  7. When a player lands on a space that has a picture on it, they pick up and read aloud a card from the matching deck and do what it says. Then their turn is over.

  8. The game is won when every player’s cup is less than half full.

Permission is granted to copy this document for non-profit educational purposes. This game was created by Sophia Kelly, DVATI for the BC Schizophrenia Society. Funding for this project was provided by BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, an agency of PHSA. Electronic copies of this game and instructions are available at or This game is not suitable for children under 6 as game pieces may be a choking hazard.


About the author

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The BC Schizophrenia Society helps individuals and families find their way in the mental health system. They also provide regional programs and services to help people with serious mental illnesses and their families. For more, visit or call 1-888-888-0029.


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