When I Worry About Things
When I Worry About Things is a collection of animated films that use personal testimony to explore mental health issues from the perspective of children.
Alongside each, there is more information about the content of the film, and suggestions of how it could be used in the classroom.
These resources are suitable for use with pupils aged 8-13.
The films are hosted on an external, non-BBC platform. The BBC cannot take any responsibility for recommendations or content promoted by third party sites.
1. Being a bully - Ariana's story
Animated testimony exploring how being undervalued at home drove a young girl to become a bully, and how adult intervention inspired her to stop. WARNING: Contains some scenes which some viewers may find upsetting.
1. Teacher resources
This film uses real, first person testimony from Ariana, a young girl whose family valued boys higher than girls, to create an intimate and direct tone. The open and honest narration may help students develop a sense of empathy with her, and recognise the parallels with their own lives.
In the course of the film, Ariana relates how her family background led her to feel a sense of inferiority, and caused her to subjugate others to regain a measure of control. As she talks, the animation creates a visually emotive representation of how she felt, to help students experience it directly.
This film could be used to open up discussion about bullying, and particularly to discuss the root causes behind people’s actions. This may help those displaying bullying behaviour think about the reasons behind their actions, and others to take a more sympathetic view.
2. OCD and depression - Annabel’s story
Animated testimony from a girl who developed nervous tics, OCD and depression after a period of upheaval, and how she learnt to cope. WARNING: Contains some scenes which some viewers may find upsetting.
2. Teacher resources
This film uses the testimony of a young girl called Annabel to create an intimate portrait of how coping with OCD can feel. Annabel explains how her compulsions affected her daily life at school and at home, and ultimately led her to reaching rock bottom before she received help.
The film’s strong visuals may open up students’ eyes to how having an OCD can feel, the way it relates to stress, and how classmates’ behaviour can affect a person suffering from OCD and depression.
This animation may be particularly useful for teachers to use in discussions about understanding others, how to deal with stress and loss, and what to do when feeling low.
You could use the film to start a discussion about what might make a person feel stressed or sad, and what you can do to help someone in Annabel’s situation.
3. Anorexia - Kirsty's story
Animated testimony based on the first-person testimony of a young girl who developed anorexia as a response to social anxiety. WARNING: Contains some scenes which some viewers may find upsetting.
3. Teacher resources
In this film Kirsty explains how shyness made her worry that people were talking about her and judging her, and led her to avoid eating in public. She explains how classmates were afraid to talk to her about her weight, and that they were helpless to change her eating habits even when they did say something.
It may be particularly useful for teachers in discussing eating disorders, social anxiety and what to do if students notice their classmates are feeling unhappy or unwell.
As well as inspiring discussions about mental health. eating disorders, and the idea of 'healthy' eating plans, you could ask pupils what they should do if they are feeling anxious or in need of help, or what to do if they suspect a classmate isn’t eating.
4. Being bullied - Jake's story
Animated testimony from a boy who suffered severe bullying, and how joining the army cadets helped him cope. WARNING: Contains some scenes which some viewers may find upsetting.
4. Teacher resources
Jake’s intimate description of how it felt to be bullied - the sense of isolation and fear that he went through - may help students to empathise with his story. He describes how being bullied pervaded every aspect of his life and made him afraid even when he was at home. He goes on to explain how being in a new environment and making new friends through the army cadets helped to develop his sense of self-confidence.
This film may be particularly useful for teachers in opening up discussion around bullying, self-confidence and the effects of an individual’s actions on others.
You could use this film to start a discussion about how to deal with bullying, what to do if you think someone might be being bullied and where to seek extra help, if needed.
5. Luke and Jenny's stories
Animated testimony exploring the stories of two young people suffering from severe panic attacks, and how they learned to cope. WARNING: Contains some scenes which some viewers may find upsetting.
5. Teacher resources
The intimate first person testimony of these two young people may help students to understand what it can feel like to go through a panic attack, and may help them see how someone can get into a state of panic to begin with. Through Luke and Jenny’s accounts, pupils may learn to empathise with those suffering from severe worry and panic attacks, and in general to feel empathy for others.
Teachers may find this film particularly useful in opening up discussion around how to cope when feeling worried or frightened, and on how to help people who might be feeling stressed.
After watching the film you could ask pupils what it means to have a panic attack and how it might affect different people.
Ask pupils to discuss what to do if they think they or someone they know is having a panic attack, and what mechanisms they could use for dealing with stress and anxiety.