We’ve just finalised our podcast on exam stress, produced by youth media charity Exposure and featuring five teenagers from Barnet, north London.
I’ve been working with Exposure since early this year, but it’s the first podcast I’ve been involved in, and actually quite a new area for them too – to date they’ve focused largely on short films and the magazine.
I know people are talking more openly nowadays about mental health – for young people, it’s increasingly relevant, with Childline reporting a rise in calls to do with exam stress, cyberbullying or anxiety – but I was still impressed by how maturely and honestly these kids (aged 15 to 17) shared what goes on in their heads.
To get started though, we needed an entry point. It’s easy enough to find facts, figures and testimonies on mental health, including some with a focus on young people (Mind, Time to Change, Young Minds, CALM, plus the NHS). But the ideas that most helped generate discussion? Monsters and mindapples, of course.
Mindapples are defined as a “day-to-day activity that’s good for your mind”. The organisation behind the idea is on a mission to “make taking care of your mental health as natural as brushing your teeth”, and encourages people to think about what works for them. Our group proposed a mix of suggestions, from the obvious (watching Friends) to the unappealing (a cold shower, anyone?).
And oddly, it was this advert for a public transport service in Belgium, no less, that opened up the discussion on how you as an individual experience and deal with stress. It’s not only a great advert – fun and instantly something we relate to – it’s a good way to get people laughing and sharing what their stress monster looks like.