Naomi Osaka wants kids to know it’s ‘OK to prioritize your mental health’ in new meditation series with Modern Health

Two girls with hands on chest, eyes closed, meditating
Modern Health leads a meditation warm-up activity during a Play Academy sports day event in Los Angeles ©Getty Images for Laureus

Mental health platform and Play Academy with Naomi Osaka supporter Modern Health has released a series of children’s meditations in hopes of combating the unprecedented youth mental crisis.

The meditations are free and available on YouTube, with Naomi Osaka guiding children through techniques to instill foundational mental health practices. The three-part series include:

Imagine Your Big Feelings (for 5-7 years old): Children use their imagination to find a calm and peaceful place whenever they experience strong or overwhelming emotions:

Talk to Yourself Like a Friend (for 8-11 years old): Learn strategies for developing self-compassion and managing negative self-talk:

Ground Yourself in the Moment (for 9+ years old): Find ways to relax, handle intense emotions and be present in the moment by focusing on the physical sensation of children’s feet against the ground:

Modern Health’s clinical team worked closely with Osaka, their Chief Community Health Advocate, to create meditations specifically for children to offer tools and sustainable solutions at an early age to mitigate anxiety and self-defeating thoughts.

“Since becoming pregnant, I feel a sense of responsibility to be the best version of myself for my son or daughter,” said Osaka, who announced her pregnancy in January 2023. “ I’m already a mom to my dog, Butta, but now that I will be a mother to an actual human, I do feel more of a sense of responsibility to help make the world a better place for my kid.

“I want children to know that it’s OK to prioritize their mental health. For me, asking for help when I was younger was scary, so I really want kids to know that it’s OK to ask for help when they’re struggling with mental health.”

– Naomi Osaka

Dr. Sharon Adusei, Clinical Strategy Lead of Outcomes & Quality at Modern Health, said that mental health services are under extreme strain with shortage of providers who specialize in working with youth and a rising demand for support.

“Children are telling us that they’re struggling, and not only do we need to focus on quality interventions, we also need to focus on prevention efforts that help youth build skills to manage ongoing stress at home, school, and around the world,” Dr. Adusei said.

Woman with mic listens to what girls are saying in an activity
Dr. Sharon Adusei, a licensed child clinical psychologist, guides girls through meditation activities ©Getty Images for Laureus

“By providing this free and publicly available series of children’s meditations, we hope to not only help children navigate their current mental health challenges but also support their development of positive mental health habits for the rest of their lives.”

– Dr. Sharon Adusei

“Imagine being in a classroom where one in every five kids either currently are or will experience a mental or behavioral health challenge in their lifetime, thus impacting their ability to engage, learn and thrive. Right now, that is almost every classroom in the United States,” added Dr. Sharon Adusei.

“This is not an issue we can whisper about or ignore; it’s at our front door and in family households. The significant number and types of stressors that youth today are confronted with are deeply concerning, and it’s hardly surprising that this is affecting our youth.  We must step up to support them and listen more intently to their needs – for the sake of their futures, and ultimately ours.”