Past project

Keep Cool

Promoting teen mental health during Covid-19
A colourful digital illustration of a hand holding a fizzy drinks bottle, with psychedelic-looking flames around, and the caption 'Don't bottle it up'.

Project overview

For many young people, Covid-19 had a negative effect on their mental health. Many reported high rates of anxiety or low mood – even higher than before Covid-19, according to some studies.

There was lots of information about effective ways to cope with these emotions but not all of it was accessible for young people.

The Keep Cool project wanted to share this information with as many young people as possible, in an effective and engaging way.

As part of this, three short films have been produced on anxiety, sadness and anger.

Members of the Young Person’s Advisory Group (YPAG) also created some images to go with them.

Project details

It is vital 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 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. They will be involved in key decisions throughout the project and will interact with researchers, clinicians, and creative partners.

This project did 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 issues now
  2. Discussing with young people which topics they need to know more about. This will include working out what they need 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.

Young people, aged 14-25, were 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 was 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 between workshops in the project activities

They also created images to go with the videos:

A colourful digital illustration of a hand holding a fizzy drinks bottle, with psychedelic-looking flames around, and the caption 'Don't bottle it up'.
A graphic of a woman walking under a raincloud, all in blue, with yellow wellies.
'Anger' by a Young People’s Network member, and ‘On dark days wear yellow wellies’ by Ashlea Jade, Young People’s Network member , for the KeepCool project’s Sadness theme
A hand-drawn poster with the word 'Breathe' in the centre of a starburst-type graphic. The words 'Exercise, Eat well, journal and sleep' are written, one in each of the four corners of the image is on
Artwork by Jack M, member of McPin’s Young People’s Network

We worked with TOAD and KCL to produce three resources for the project – short films focusing on anxiety, sadness and anger.

The design, script and content was shaped directly by the McPin young people’s group.

For more information about the project, visit the KCL webpage:

For more information about the involvement work please email [email protected].

You can also read a blog from a Keep Cool YPAG member on his experiences with anger after a diagnosis, and how he has managed to cope with the emotion.

Keep Cool: Anxiety
Keep Cool: Sadness
Keep Cool: Anger

Work with us

We are always excited to hear from others who want to collaborate on mental health research. From delivering peer research to helping you with public involvement strategies and providing training, get in touch to chat.