A pressing need was discovered from the research released in 2016 by the Child Mind Institute: 1 in 5 children suffers from various mental health or learning disorders, and 80% of chronic mental disorders begin in childhood. Children are commonly susceptible to mental health conditions and they need the help of adults who they can trust in order to cope with and understand these conditions and disorders.
In five 4-5 minute videos, depression, anxiety, ODD, OCD, and self-love are addressed through the use of claymated animal characters. Using an activity and a dialogue familiar to a child’s perspective, each of these claymated characters shares what they are struggling with and expresses their need for help. After the fifth episode, the last claymated animal character is not dealing with any mental health issues. Instead, this character has noticed that some of his friends are. Similar to the previous episodes, this character expresses his questions and concerns to the audience, trying to figure out what he can do to help his friends who are struggling with their emotions.
Note To Viewer: When developing this series, we wanted to make sure that our research took us into a more thorough understanding of the separate conditions which exist. This has allowed for a more accurate dialogue to be expressed from each character—to ensure that what they are experiencing is akin to that of a child with a similar condition. Personal experiences within the crew were also used to validate the research and enhance the truthfulness of the characters’ struggles.
Though backed by research and personal experience, it is important to be aware that the activities in each of these episodes are not made for every individual child. Each child is different; what will help one child struggling with a mental health issue may not help another, and vice versa. Instead of being a blanket cure for all children, these episodes are meant to be potential starting points with the most major goal being that parents, children, and anyone who engages with these episodes are able to develop a greater understanding of mental health and realize that it is okay, and even necessary, to talk about it. We hope that, as a result, the negative stigmas associated with mental health issues, in general, will decline.
All articles written by Dallin Penrod. Edited by Loren Brunken