Mental health is serious, always, but in recent times it is becoming an even more pressing issue. It has been calculated that since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, two-thirds of young people in the UK have experienced significant deterioration in their mental health.
This is the background to “What’s Up With Everyone?”, a communication campaign aimed at positively influencing the mental wellbeing of young people aged between 17 and 24, a project to encourage young people to be more aware of the factors that can have a negative impact on their wellbeing.
This campaign came about as part of a research project commissioned and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and in collaboration with the University of Nottingham, Loughborough University, the London School of Economics and Politics, mental health expert Dominique Thompson, the Mental Health Foundation and Happy Space.
Consisting of a series of 5 animated shorts, this campaign introduces, for each episode, a character suffering from a mental health problem, among the most common and negatively impacting among young people. They are loneliness, perfectionism, competitiveness, independence and social media.
“What’s Up With Everyone?” was created by the animation studio Aardman, in collaboration with the advertising agency ILK, and is an integrated campaign distributed online on the main social network of the companies that created it.
Watch the 5 episodes here, find out more on the project’s official website and share the campaign with everyone using the hashtag #WhatsUpWithEveryone.
E1: Isolation and Loneliness
Loneliness and isolation often work together and feeling lonely can become a mental health problem, but with small steps, you can improve your social connection with others.
Do you have thoughts like: “am I not good enough?”, “do others like me?”, “I need to work harder”? You are not the only one who feels this way, but it is time to take care of your mental health. Not all perfectionists experience mental health problems, but chasing unrealistic standards for more self-esteem can make things worse.
Is being competitive good or bad? Well, it depends. Competition can be good or bad, so you have to keep an eye on it, especially if it affects your mental wellbeing. We cannot avoid all competition, nor should we, so what can we do?
If competitiveness is causing you mental distress, then you should consider talking to your doctor or someone else you trust and seek advice from experienced professionals.
If we are entirely dependent on others we can feel vulnerable, insecure and under pressure. Dependent relationships can cause mental health problems, choosing to be more independent can increase self-esteem and improve a problematic condition.
E5: Social Media
Do you control social media or do they control you? It is a bit of a vicious circle and can affect mental health.
Words by Federica Cimorelli