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Keep Cool: promoting teen mental health during Covid-19

‘On dark days wear yellow wellies’ by Ashlea Jade, Young People’s Network member , for the KeepCool project’s Sadness theme
@ashleajadeart

What is the project about?

For many young people, Covid-19 has had a negative effect on mental health. Many young people report high rates of anxiety or low mood – even higher than before Covid-19, according to some studies. There is lots of information about effective ways to cope with these emotions but not all of it is accessible for young people. The Keep Cool project aims to share this information with as many young people as possible, in an effective and engaging way.

This project is doing three things:

1. Reflecting on the research about young people’s mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic and what advice there is for people with increased mental health difficulties right now

2. Discussing with young people which topics they need to know more about. This will include working out what is relevant for young people to know to be able to help themselves

3. Working with young people to co-produce animation and video resources that disseminate accurate information about young people’s mental health in the most engaging way possible.

Why is this work important?

It is vital that young people have access to good quality information that is relevant to their own mental health and wellbeing, especially at a time of increased mental health difficulties for many young people.

Young people need to have a voice in how this project is done so that the outcomes are as relevant and useful as possible for the target audience – young people! Young people will be involved in key decisions throughout the project and will interact with researchers, clinicians, and creative partners.

How are McPin and people with lived experience involved in this research?

Young people, aged 14-25, have been actively involved in designing the video content for this project. Over 15 young people teamed up with McPin staff, researchers from KCL, and creative professionals from TOAD and Passion Digital, to do this.

McPin have been involved in…

  • Discussing and prioritising what information needs to be shared
  • Running workshops with young people about the content and how to disseminate it in a way that is engaging and accessible for other young people
  • Involving young people in between workshops in the project activities.
Artwork by Jack M, member of McPin’s Young People’s Network

What’s the current status of the project?

After teaming up with TOAD and KCL, the very first film of the project was released in April 2021! It focuses on anxiety. The design, script and content has all been shaped directly by the McPin young people’s group.

And the second video has just been released! This one takes a look at sadness, and some of the things which young people do to help manage it.

In support of this second video, a member of our Young Person’s Network has written several beautiful poems on the topic of sadness:

Poetry by Brittany, a YPAG member

And the third film focuses on anger. Watch that here:

Where can I find more information?

For more information about the project, visit the KCL webpage: kcl.ac.uk/research/keepcool

For more information about the involvement work that McPin are doing, please contact Rachel Temple (racheltemple@mcpin.org) or Dan Robotham (danrobotham@mcpin.org)