Young people tackle stress with poetry and film

Young people in Salford have turned to poetry and film to help teenagers understand and cope with stress.

Their two-minute animated poem, Stressed Out Brain, explains the impact of stress on the brain and how the fight or flight response may not switch off in children who have traumatic experiences in childhood.

It encourages young people not to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope but to get help emphasising that your brain can always learn new and better coping strategies.

The project was commissioned by Salford Community Safety Partnership and developed by local charity Early Break which is part of the Achieve drug and alcohol service and which specialises in advice, education and support for families, children and young people affected by substance misuse.

In addition to the animated film, the young people worked with local university academics to produce a workbook for teenagers to accompany the film and training for professionals such as youth and health workers.

Director Janine Day said: “Young people were at the centre of the project right from the start. They shared their stories about the challenges of being a teenager such as anxiety, relationships and conflicts, their views about crime and substance misuse including cannabinoids and the support and things they found helpful.

“Contributing to this project has helped the young people who took part understand that turning to drugs or alcohol can lead to even more problems and that they can learn new life strategies and better ways to cope with pressures. They want to share that message with other young people.”

Councillor Barbara Bentham, lead member for environment and community safety at Salford City Council praised the film.

“Everyone involved has done a great job on this. The video is powerful and clear – you have an amazing brain and you can always learn new ways to cope with pressure without numbing your mind with drink and drugs,” she said.

Salford Community Safety Partnership brings together a number of council services, Greater Manchester Police, housing and health professionals and voluntary and community groups to steer young people away from crime as well as tackling crime and anti-social behaviour in the city.

The project was also supported by Salford Foundation, Salford Youth Justice Service, Edge Hill University, Manchester Metropolitan University and the animations was created by Michael Linnell of Linnell Communications and Michael England. Government funding will help roll out training for professionals across Greater Manchester in using the film and resources to work with young people.

Training dates will be advertised via the Early Break website and participants will be able to take the film and workbooks back to their agencies.

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Date published
Wednesday 26 October 2022

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