A Unique Partnership in Mental Health Knowledge Transfer

Over the past number of years, knowledge transfer activities have become an increasingly important aspect of youth mental health research.

This animation, exploring the theme of bullying was created by IADT Students Conor Doyle, Daniel McNicholl, Saoirse Mitchell and Charles-Henri Sanson.

Over the past number of years, knowledge transfer activities have become an increasingly important aspect of youth mental health research.  Mental health literacy and the facility to develop meaningful public health outputs are now seen as key priorities in the field.  Yet, according to Dr Helen Coughlan (RCSI) and Principal Investigator on the “Youth Mental Health Animation Project”, there are very few examples of significant collaboration between this area and the Arts.                                                   

Through a unique partnership with IADT, and supported by the HSE and SPUNOUT.IE, a series of 5 short animations were created which aimed to capture several themes related to experiences commonly reported by young people, of anxiety, depression, feeling different, bullying and loneliness. 

Mr David Quin, Lecturer in Animation at IADT’s Department of Film + Media led the animation team.  IADT built the project into the Professional Practice module for Animation Stage 3 undergraduate students.  24 IADT students worked with the RCSI team on scripts, narrative and character development.  The script itself and the characters depicted were drawn directly from previous quantitative research completed by the RCSI project team and featured young people’s authentic voices and stories.   IADT engaged its own experts such as Geoffrey Perrin, Programme Chair, Creative Music Production on sound design. 

The animations served multiple purposes for the RCSI Team.  As well as providing much needed, accessible, mental health resources for young people across Ireland, the team also used the animations, and supporting materials published online to track engagement over an extended period of time.   The results of the team’s findings have been submitted to a high impact journal. 

As noted by the RCSI team at the animation launch, “It demonstrates the potential for research findings to be used in creative ways to create meaningful outputs that have the potential to have an impact on both an individual and societal level”. 

The animations are available to view here  

The animations are aimed at young people aged 12 to 25, as well as at parents and educators who have an interest in young people’s mental health. SpunOut.ie have partnered with RCSI, IADT and the HSE to promote the animations to young people across Ireland. 

The project aims to give young people an understanding of mental health, as well as being a series of resources young people can relate to. The animations encourage young people to seek help for anything they may be struggling with and aims to make them aware that it is okay not to feel okay. 

For further information on The Youth Mental Health Animation Project, contact helencoughlan@rcsi.ie 

For further information on Animation at IADT, contact David.Quin@iadt.ie