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Children's Mental Health Week: Stars offer advice on how young people can use their voice

A new video series created by BAFTA ahead of Children’s Mental Health Week 2024 uncovers the importance of giving young people a voice. BAFTA Young Presenters Jeriah Kibusi and Precious Assah sit down with film, TV, and sports stars to reflect on this year’s theme ‘My Voice Matters’.

4 photos in a collage. From left to right, top to bottom. Image 1: Alex Scott and Jeriah smiling on a sofa, mid conversation, Image 2: Gwendoline Christie and Jeriah smiling at camera, Image 3: Taz Skylar and Precious smiling mid conversation, Image 3: William Gao and Precious smiling on sofa, while Precious points to the distance.

The stars share mental health advice for children and young people and explore how listening, self-expression and togetherness contribute to positive wellbeing. The interviews are available on the Children’s Mental Health Week website and BAFTA’s YouTube channel.

Watch the full series

In the interviews, stars reflect on how they make others feel heard and delve into different forms of self-expression.

  • Jeriah Kibusi in conversation with actress Gwendoline Christie on finding her voice through Game of Thrones and why empathy makes the world a better place
  • Jeriah Kibusi in conversation with sports broadcaster and former footballer Alex Scott on self-expression through poetry and using her voice to raise the profile of women’s sport
  • Precious Assah in conversation with musician and actor William Gao on creating safe environments for others to express themselves, the importance of actively listening, and weaving mental health into his music
  • Precious Assah in conversation with screenwriter and actor Taz Skylar on what to do when you’re feeling low and learning to listen without offering solutions

Gwendoline Christie emphasised how listening to others is a great way to develop and learn:

Listening is so extraordinarily important. When I was younger, I learned to do a lot of talking, these days I like to do a lot of listening. I found that I am learning so much. And particularly times when I don’t want to listen - by just sitting down and being present with someone and taking onboard what they have to say…I just find by listening to different voices it enables me to really grow as a person. Gwendoline Christie

Taz Skylar spoke of using different art forms to express yourself:

Sometimes a way to be listened to is by putting that into art. Do the dangerous thing of putting something that is really true, and really means something to you onto something. Taz Skylar

William Gao reiterated the importance of openly speaking about mental health problems: 

I have struggled with mental health and I think so many young people do. I think it’s not talked about enough for how many people encounter it. William Gao

Reflecting on her childhood, Alex Scott spoke of using writing as a tool to speak up: 

I wrote a lot of poems. And I would pass those on to the other people to read so they could understand how I was feeling. Alex Scott

On the videos, Catherine Roche, CEO of Place2Be said:

“Children’s Mental Health Week has truly been embraced by schools, families, children and young people across the UK since Place2Be launched it in 2015. Listening, connecting with others and finding your voice are such important aspects of good mental health. As we look this year to empower young people to find their voice we’re delighted - once again - to have the support of BAFTA and their incredible Young Presenters. We hope these videos will inspire all children and young people to find their voice, open up about their thoughts, and feelings and connect with those around them.”

BAFTA is using the theme of ‘My Voice Matters’ to launch its annual competition for the next BAFTA Young Presenters. The competition opens today, to young people aged 10-18. Last year’s winners, Elsie and Precious, have participated in The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival last October, alongside a host of red carpet opportunities and presenting at BAFTA events throughout the year. For more details of how to enter visit BAFTA’s website.