BAFTA & Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman, TV’s Emma Willis & Strictly’s Oti Mabuse Shine Spotlight on Children’s Mental Health Week
Celebrity Editor Angela Sara West @angela_sara_west finds out how famous faces are ‘Growing Together’ to highlight the importance of children and young people’s mental health.
The stars are out in force this week, supporting Place2Be, whose Royal Patron is HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, and BAFTA’s joint Children’s Mental Health Week campaign. Multi-award-winning actress Olivia Colman has kickstarted this week’s activity, as a surprise special guest of support for the charities’ virtual primary and secondary school assemblies, this year focusing on theme of ‘Growing Together’ through simple activities that pupils can try in class or at home.
“The past few years have been challenging for everyone, so it’s vital that we look after our own mental wellbeing, but also find ways to support each other,” declared Olivia during the assemblies. Alongside a host of other stars, including ‘Blue Peter’ and Heart FM presenter Lindsey Russell and Netflix’s ‘Shadow and Bone’ actor Kit Young, CBBC’s ‘Tracy Beaker Returns’ & ‘The Dumping Ground’ actress Kia Pegg was among the other big names lending their support by talking to young people about wellbeing and emotional growth, as well as sharing personal experiences and guidance, offering their own reflections on how they have grown and adapted to difficult circumstances.
A parent herself, Olivia’s considerate advice addressed the challenging Covid years on young people’s mental health, and offered encouragement to primary and secondary school children across the UK. “We’re always growing, we just may not realise it,” she continued as she conveyed her special message to students around the country. “The most difficult growth to recognise is emotional. For Children’s Mental Health Week 2022, we’re encouraging everyone to explore how they have grown together and to celebrate how even through difficult times, with the right support we can all continue to grow and flourish.”
Oti & Emma on emotional growth
‘Strictly Come Dancing’ pro and ‘Dancing On Ice’ judge Oti Mabuse and popular presenter Emma Willis also took part in activities with children and young people, encouraging discussions about emotional growth. “When I struggle with day-to-day stuff or I feel a little bit overwhelmed, I know I can always talk to my mum,” Oti explained. “Sharing is important. I think, sharing emotions, sharing how we feel – whether that’s good, bad, sad, up, down, happy or excited is important… we need to check in,” says the Strictly star. “What I’ve learnt to do is reframe all of my negative thoughts, and put a positive spin on them,” advised Emma. “So, when I think failure, I change it to growth. Because even if we fail, we learn, we move on from that and growth will happen.”Dr Alex George & Olympic skateboarder Sky Brown among celebrities sharing stories a few other famous faces have been sharing their ‘Growth Stories’ in a series of chats hosted by former Celebrity and Entertainment Director at GLAMOUR UK, presenter, podcaster and Place2Be Ambassador Josh Smith.
The illuminating series includes conversations from familiar faces from the worlds of TV, music and sport, including presenter, author and UK Youth Mental Health Ambassador Dr Alex George, and actress Mandip Gill.
Inspiring Place2Be’s high-profile Ambassadors and Champions sharing their stories of emotional growth, meanwhile, include saxophonist/composer/broadcaster YolanDa Brown, actor/singer/songwriter Jacob Anderson, Paralympic gold medallist Andy Lewis MBE, along with Team GB’s youngest Olympic medallist, skateboarder Sky Brown.
BAFTA’s Young Presenter competition
BAFTA – the British Academy of Film and Television Arts – has also launched its Young Presenter Competition alongside this busy week of activity, with new changes for 2022. This year’s competition shares the theme of ‘Growing Together’, encouraging children and young people to reflect on how much they have grown and how they can help others to grow. As 1 in 6 children in the UK now has a diagnosable mental health condition, the backing by stars shines a spotlight on the importance of supporting young people’s mental health and removing the stigma still often associated with discussing emotional challenges. The celebrities were joined by students from Place2Be partner schools providing embedded mental health support for pupils, their families and school staff. During the assemblies, the students discussed their own experiences around bullying and feeling isolated, and how they have adjusted to returning to school. Emma went on to remark. “To see people of your age… being open and honest and saying, ‘This is me, this is how I feel and asking for help…’ it’s so inspiring listening to all of you today.”BAFTA is calling for entries for its annual Young Presenter competition, which aims to find exciting new on-screen stars and help young people develop confidence and self-esteem. Previous winners have gone on to interview A-list stars at various BAFTA events, including Tom Hiddleston and BAFTA President HRH The Duke of Cambridge, as well as presenting on popular children’s television shows and at events around the world. New for 2022, BAFTA is looking for two winners for the following age categories: 10-14 and 15-18. Applicants will need to create a short video on this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week theme – Growing Together – and submit their entries by 26th April 2022. BAFTA is a world-leading independent arts charity that brings the very best work in film, games and television to public attention and supports the growth of creative talent in the UK and internationally, while BAFTA Kids is a programme of events and initiatives for families across the UK, offering insight into creative excellence within film, television and games – a trusted and accessible brand for families to explore and discover new, innovative and non-mainstream work.
A Royal Patron As part of her commitment to, and reflecting her personal interest in improving the mental health and emotional wellbeing of children and young people, Place2Be is honoured to have HRH The Duchess of Cambridge as its Royal Patron. “School leaders and teachers need expert guidance and training to develop their own approaches to supporting children’s mental wellbeing,” said The Duchess. “They also need access to a pool of experienced, well-trained mental health professionals, who can step in when things are more complex or serious. As its Patron, I am incredibly proud of the contribution that Place2Be is making towards exactly this.” Mentally Healthy Schools Place2Be is one of the charity partners for the Heads Together campaign, launched by TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry in 2016 to end the stigma around mental health.It’s also a partner charity for the Mentally Healthy Schools website, which was launched in 2018 by the Duchess of Cambridge as a legacy of the Heads Together campaign. The free website offers school and college staff information, advice and practical resources to better understand and promote pupils’ mental health and wellbeing. Providing school-based support and in-depth training programmes to improve the emotional wellbeing of pupils, families, teachers and school staff, Place2Be also works in partnership with Shout, a free, 24/7 text service for anyone in crisis. The site was launched nationally by TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in 2019. “Our children and young people have endured so much over the past two years, but also grown in so many ways… becoming resilient and experts at adapting to ever-changing circumstances, says Place2Be CEO Catherine Roche. “We are hugely grateful to everyone who has lent their support to our assemblies!”
Place2Be’s Children’s Mental Health Week runs from 7-13 February 2022
The full virtual assemblies for schools featuring Olivia’s message and a host of other famous faces are available at childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk/assembly
Find out more at childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk
For further info on BAFTA’s Young Presenter Competition, visit www.baftakids.org
Place2Be website: www.place2be.org.uk
Written By: © Angela Sara West 2021| @angela_sara_west