Animation encouraging children to talk about mental health launches in Primrose Hill

Mayor of Camden Cllr Nadia Shah with pupils at Primrose Hill Primary School

Mayor of Camden Cllr Nadia Shah with pupils at Primrose Hill Primary School - Credit: Archant

A short film to encourage children to talk about their feelings in the classroom was shown today at Primrose Hill Primary School.

Mayor of Camden, Cllr Nadia Shah, introduced “Talking Mental Health” to Primrose Hill children in Year 5, as part of a project led by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families.

The animation was created by other Year 5 and 6 children, who had the chance to collaborate with filmmakers and artists, with one pupil saying, “keeping something in that’s bugging you might release like a volcano”.

The project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, aims to reach 20,000 children.

The animation draws on the experiences of a range of young people, to help other children understand that they are not alone, and encourage them to talk about their mental health.

More than 50 per cent of mental illnesses start before the age of 14 and one in ten children and adolescents have a mental health disorder.

Miranda Wolpert, from the Anna Freud National Centre, said: “There aren’t many resources to encourage young children to talk about mental health issues. Producing an animation together is an engaging way to explore difficult and sensitive subjects.”

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Cllr Shah said: “We all know what it is like to feel excited or worried about things – these are normal responses to our everyday lives, but it is important to be able to notice when those feelings get too big for us to manage.

“The animation is designed to help children and young people talk about mental health and to give them a language to talk about it.

“It’s also designed to think about how to ask for help and who to ask and lastly how to be a good listener if someone wants to talk to you”.

The Primrose Hill School pupils took part in workshops following the screening, using ink and pads to create flipbook animations of their own thumbprint characters.