Since 2016, we’ve had a close partnership with the fantastic children’s mental health charity Place2Be, and for this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week (CMHW) – 6-12 February – we've worked closely with the team there to produce a series of special BAFTA videos on the Place2Be website.
As in previous years, we've focused on promoting the benefits of creativity for mental well-being – and there’s never any shortage of talent to support us in the cause!
The theme for this year's video series is ‘Let’s Connect’. It has given us a perfect opportunity to kick-start conversations between actors and presenters Amita Suman (Shadow & Bone), Big Zuu, Clara Amfo, Dafne Keen (His Dark Materials), Dermot O’Leary and Kit Connor (Heartstopper) and a selection of BAFTA Young Presenters, Braydon, Gracie, Jeriah, Maryam, Samaira, aged between 12 and 17.
The conversations had their similarities, but they were certainly all unique. They really showed the importance of our screen industries in helping us connect with each other! Our presenters also had a fun game of Connect4™ with their interviewees which proved the perfect way to conclude the chats. This could be a way for you to sit down with young people in your life, playing a light-hearted game that can lead into a wider conversation...
Clara Amfo said: “I am greedy, I have so many connections! My friends and family are very close to me for sure. But it’s also so natural to experience those feelings of disconnection - everyone has a bad day and it’s ok not to be 100% happy all of the time."
Big Zuu, known for his tight friendship with Tubsey and Hyder who feature in BAFTA award-winning, Big Zuu’s Big Eats, had words of support around relationships that breakdown: “Even if someone has done me wrong, I always try to leave it on good terms. You have to deal with negative things head on. It’s trial and error though, sometimes it will go right and sometimes it doesn’t.”
There were no surprises in hearing about the importance of friends, family and pets and also how being creative gives you the tools to connect with others through what you’re passionate about, like words, music, acting, and broadcasting.
In our multi-cultural society, it was also great to hear that those influences both enrich our lives and deepen connections.
Slightly more revealing, but something that should be addressed, was the recognition that it’s also ok to feel lonely and disconnected.
Nearly 78% of young people supported by the charity last year felt socially anxious, but with support, two thirds of those with severe difficulties saw an improvement in their mental health. It is so vital for young people and adults to have meaningful conversations and spend time together. Seeing how our own Young Presenters connected with their interviewees really brought home the significance of the theme of CMHW. We hope this short series of films helps to spark all sorts of conversations in schools and at home. It doesn’t matter whether they be fun, serious or difficult; it’s just important to talk. The playlist is available here
As this year’s CMHW draws to a close, we look forward to continuing our Roadshows this year, in partnership with Place2Be. If you don’t know what our Roadshows are all about, here’s a quick overview: by working with talented household names from film, games and TV we’re able to talk at grassroots level about future creative opportunities and provide role models in local screen industries to help young people build confidence and develop key transferrable skills. They allow us to see, up-close-and-personal, the positive impact of focusing on creativity and storytelling. Our partnership with Place2Be has allowed us take our Roadshows to primary schools across the country, and produce online content and resources for older students too.
We want to keep the conversation going - we will begin the search for our next BAFTA Young Presenters using the theme of CONNECTIONS. The competition opens next Monday 13 February, to young people aged 10-18. Keep an eye on our socials for all the details.
Huge thanks to everyone who was involved!
Lisa Prime, Head of Children & Young People’s Programme
Find out more in the official press release here.