With what has been a year of zoom lectures and socially distanced events, it’s no wonder young people’s mental health has suffered. A recent campaign conducted at the University of Nottingham has uncovered loneliness and perfectionism as the two most prominent issues currently facing young people. Social media content involving the two themes were the best performing of the entire campaign and resulted in 11% more engagement than any other issue.
The campaign, entitled ‘What’s Up With Everyone?’, was launched in February at the University of Nottingham by multi-award-winning independent studio, Aardman, and led by Professor Paul Crawford. It aimed to investigate what the leading issues for young people’s mental health were, as well as providing useful and accessible resources to tackle these issues and increase mental health literacy.
The campaign has so far been a success, with widespread support across social media
Research teams at the universities of Nottingham, Loughborough and LSE worked alongside Mental Health Foundation, Happy Space and Dr Dominique Thompson to create a campaign which consisted of a series of animated videos and a companion website. The campaign forms part of a wider research project that aims to evaluate how effective creative platforms are as a way of reaching young people.
The campaign has so far been a success, with widespread support across social media and celebrity endorsements from Stephen Fry, Love Island’s Ovie Soko, and Celebs Go Dating host Tom Read Wilson.
Paul Crawford, Professor of Health Humanities at the Institute of Mental Health at the University of Nottingham, said: “It is sobering to see that loneliness and perfectionism are the most prominent issues affecting so many young people’s mental health. We know that the impact of lockdown has been profound on our young people. As well as offering a much needed mental health resource for young people, this campaign forms part of a wider research project that will evaluate how effective these creative platforms are as a way of reaching young people who need it, and ensuring help and guidance is easily accessible. Preliminary findings from our research shows that the films improve young people’s knowledge and attitudes towards mental health, their willingness to seek help, and confidence to help their peers.”
In addition, mental health expert Dr Dominique Thompson indicated that the increasing pressure of our ‘always-on’ culture combined with the challenges of isolation during lockdown has created the ‘perfect storm’ for the deterioration of young people’s mental health.
Daniel Binns, Animation Director at Aardman Animations, said: “When we set out to create these short films with our young people co-creators, we wanted to ensure that they were authentic, honest and the kind of characters and stories that would resonate with young people, and I think the response we’ve seen so far has shown just that. With the films being viewed so extensively, the campaign has really demonstrated the importance of telling authentic stories about the challenges young people are facing today. We are really proud to be involved in this important project and the opportunity to help craft authentic and effective resources that are having a genuine positive impact.”
With such widespread support, hopefully the campaign will continue to grow in the future, providing much needed accessible mental health advice for young people.
To find out more about the campaign, and to explore the resources they have created, please visit:
- Website: www.whatsupwitheveryone.com
- Facebook: /WhatsUpWithEveryone
- Instagram: @WhatsUpWithEveryone
- Twitter: @_WhatsUpWith
- TikTok: @WhatsUpWithEvery1
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