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Charming Animated Characters Highlight Reality of Mental Health of Front Line Workers

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Characterful animated film ‘The Feelings’ from McCann Health London and Jelly launches during Mental Health Awareness week

Charming Animated Characters Highlight Reality of Mental Health of Front Line Workers

Creative Agency McCann Health London, production company Jelly and Barcelona-based animation directors at Niceshit have collaborated to produce an animated musical film inspired by stories from the healthcare front line for Mental Health Awareness Week (9th-15th May 2022). 

Supported by The Laura Hyde Foundation, who ensure that medical and emergency services personnel have access to the best mental health support available, ‘The Feelings’ brings to life a cast of charming characters – including ‘Power Less’, ‘Rising Dread’, and ‘Red Rage’ – to communicate common thoughts and feelings of front line healthcare workers. McCann researched and created the script which Niceshit designed and directed in a film that draws attention to the reality of what front line healthcare workers experience. 

There are some staggering statistics about the increasing impact of mental health issues, particularly for frontline workers who, due to the intense demands of their job, were already a high-risk group for mental health issues, such as depression and PTSD. The Laura Hyde Foundation’s Suicide Prevention Guide states that emergency services staff are over 40% more likely to be impacted by severe mental health issues and over 50% less likely to take up support.

Unfortunately, the impact of covid-19 has made this situation even worse, putting even more pressure on the NHS workers and a greater strain on their mental health. What’s more, the longer these issues go on unaddressed, the more damaging they can be. 

The Laura Hyde Foundation trustee chair, Liam Barnes, comments: “Our healthcare and emergency services are still facing a pandemic to overcome. This time, it isn’t Covid-19 but the state of mental health and wellbeing of the workforce, and we are yet to see the true effects of burnout, PTSD and many more conditions as a result of this testing time. The topic of mental health specifically for healthcare workers remains riddled with stigma. Any outputs that can help remove this such as ‘The Feelings’ are welcome by the Laura Hyde Foundation and we encourage anyone who is struggling right now, worried about a colleague/friend/family member or needing help to improve wellbeing in your workplace to contact us.” 

An original song leads the set of characters called ‘The Feelings’ through the different emotional states likely to be familiar to healthcare workers. 

Guy Swimer, ECD of McCann Health London, says: “The Covid-19 pandemic put our healthcare system under pressure like never before - and the people who work within it. As an agency whose sole focus is health, we understand the challenges they have faced while doing such vital work, and we wanted to support front line workers by creating sharable and memorable content for social platforms.” 

The animation directors at Niceshit are known for their diverse and sensitive character work, exemplified in the design of the seven main characters in this film, and for their hybrid blend of design and animation techniques. The characters were developed based on the several emotional states identified by a group of first responders during the research phase and were crafted using brushes and hand-painted textures to add the humanity and sensitivity needed in treating this subject matter. 

Of their unique approach to this brief, Niceshit comments: “Combining 3D environments with 2D characters is something that we love to explore and play with as we feel we get the best out of both techniques. By mixing these two worlds you get the beauty of lighting, 3D textures, and the use of camera movements combined with complete control of illustrating and animating the characters frame by frame.” 

On the message behind the campaign, Jelly founder and creative director, Charlie Sells, comments: “It was great to be part of a campaign that has such an important message. Mental health has become a big topic amongst businesses and there’s been a great progression in highlighting its importance in the workplace. This campaign encourages front line workers to articulate and speak about their feelings. Niceshit have created a beautiful and engaging animation with supporting characters we can all recognise. The playful song delivers such truth that hits hard. We all clapped for our heroes in lockdown to show our support - I think we can now recognise even our heroes have feelings.” 

The hope is by characterising these feelings and naming them, it will make them easier to recognise, relate to, and talk about, helping to remove stigma and encourage healthcare staff to seek support for their own mental health. 

As well as raising awareness, the campaign serves to highlight the many services and resources available to frontline healthcare workers specifically. The Laura Hyde Foundation provides mental health support for all healthcare and emergency services personnel, and can offer guidance and support to anybody who requires it. Other resources include Blue Light Together, and Headspace, who have now extended their free offer and are offering free access to all NHS staff with an NHS email address until 31 December 2022. 

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McCann Health London

Executive Creative Director: Guy Swimer

Deputy Executive Creative Director: Kieran Delaney

Associate Creative Director: Libby Middlehurst

Senior Art Director: Cem Hasimi

Agency Producer: Rita Juggessur

Account Director: Oliver Fraser

Senior Account Manager: Hannah McMahon

IPG Health UK

President: Jonathan Kukathasan

Jelly

Production Company: Jelly

EP: Laura Thomas

Producer: Tom Henneberry

Director: Niceshit

Niceshit

Creative Directors: Carmen Angelillo, Rodier Kidmann & Guido Lambertini

EP: Agusta Timotea

Art Directors: Rodier Kidmann & Carmen Angelillo

Animation Director: Guido Lambertini

2D Design & Illustration: Rodier Kidmann, Bianca Sangalli Moretti & Ganstoll

Lead Cel Animator: Josep Bernaus

Cel Animation & Clean Up: Josep Bernaus, Pablo Cuello, Ezequiel Cruz, Ana Freitas, Bianca Sangalli Moretti, Carmen Angelillo, Rodier Kidmann & Guido Lambertini

3D Lead: Jonas Nunes

3D Design & Modelling: Jonas Nunes, Cristian García, Rodier Kidmann, Guido Lambertini & Carolina Carballo

3D Animation: Jonas Nunes & Guido Lambertini

Edit & Compositing: Guido Lambertini, Matías Mastrogiano, Ana Freitas & Carmen Angelillo Sound FX & Audio Mix

Felt Music

Composers: Pippa Cleary & Keiran Merrick

Genres: Animation, Storytelling

Categories: Awareness, Corporate, Social and PSAs

McCann Health UK , Mon, 09 May 2022 10:00:23 GMT