Whatever you’re looking for, whether it’s tips, strategies, toolkits, worksheets, publications, reports or policy information, there are literally thousands of mental health resources available to young people, parents and professionals.
So, what’s so different about this mental health resource? Well for one, it’s created by the Bristol-based Aardman animation company.
I’ve always been a fan of Aardman Animations. As a child, I remember their very first professional production in 1976, where Morph was created for a children’s programme called ‘Take Hart’. Over the years, I’ve seen Wallace and Gromit become household names and enjoyed watching the likes of ‘Creature Comforts’ and feature films such as ‘Chicken Run’, ‘The Curse of the Were Rabbit’ and ‘Shaun the Sheep’. Living in Bristol, I’ve also joined fellow Aardman fans of all ages, following trails around our city in search of giant sculptures of Gromit and Shaun the Sheep. It’s perhaps not surprising therefore, that the recent release of a new campaign aimed at supporting the emotional wellbeing of 17- to 24-year-olds has captured my attention.
Three years in the making, the What’s Up With Everyone? campaign is a collaborative project between Aardman Animations, the Universities of Nottingham, Loughborough, the LSE, the Mental Health Foundation and Happy Space mental health charity. It is based on a series of short animations, each featuring an animated character dealing with a current issue affecting young people. The five issues, which were all identified by young people’s focus groups as part of the collaboration, include:
Whether young people are tired of text or not, what is clear is that the popularity of visual content is huge, with reports of 89% of ‘Generation Z’ using YouTube on a weekly basis. Never has there been a better time to harness the power of video to encourage young people to talk about mental health. Aardman have produced short films, TV shows, video games and now a mental health campaign. My view is that they have excelled again; this time bringing animated characters to conversations about mental health. The characters are honest, relatable and engaging and it’s easy to see a little of ourselves in the characters and their stories. Judge for yourself. The videos are being shared on YouTube and via social media. They are also hosted on the ‘What’s Up With Everyone?’ websitewhich also includes self-help tips, information about how to seek help and many other resources.
6 April 2021