For Mental Health Awareness Week Niceshit animates a colourful cast of emotive characters inspired by real-life stories of NHS frontline workers and their experiences of working during the pandemic. 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 NHS workers in the UK. The Laura Hyde Foundation’s Suicide Prevention resource 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. While a report from Mind found that 69% of people across the fire, police, and ambulance service said that their mental health has gotten worse since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Since the film’s release, The Laura Hyde Foundation have found a remarkable increase of 64% in web traffic, specifically to their Getting Help section which also increased by 84.6%. In the same period, 118 people who had been previously seen, returned and there were 218 new registrations across the support hub. This same audience also received an incredible 918 hours of clinical support.
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 frontline 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.”
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.
On, their unique approach to this brief:
“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.”
As well as raising awareness, the campaign serves to highlight services and resources available to healthcare workers specifically – including the Blue Light Together from Mind, the Laura Hyde Foundation, who last year released a free suicide prevention resource, 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.