Artwork containing 20,000 feelings from Northamptonshire youngsters promotes mental health awareness

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Libraries to display piece bringing the message 'it's the inside that matters'

An art installation created as part of Mental Health Awareness Day has been unveiled in Northampton at the start of a six-month tour of county libraries.

The collection of brightly-coloured boxes carries the theme ‘it's the inside that matters' and was the brainchild of a group of youngsters from the Northamptonshire Talk Out Loud programme.

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Programme manager Tessa Parkinson said: “Inside the boxes are more than 20,000 feelings gathered from children and young people across the county and brought together to create this installation as part of Northamptonshire Mental Health Awareness Day 2022.

Children from Abington Vale Primary School helped with the unveiling at Northampton Central LibraryChildren from Abington Vale Primary School helped with the unveiling at Northampton Central Library
Children from Abington Vale Primary School helped with the unveiling at Northampton Central Library

"Whilst we can see through the boxes that these feelings are there; we cannot see what they are. That is why it’s important to really think about how people are feeling... because it’s the inside that matters."

The installation was officially unveiled at Northampton Central Library by Councillot Helen Howell, portfolio holder for libraries at North Northamptonshire Council, John Farndon from the county TaMHS programme and students from Abington Vale Primary School.

County public health director Lucy Wightman added: “I am particularly moved by the fact that so many youngsters took part in sharing their feelings and am delighted that this installation will be touring libraries.

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"I hope that ‘it’s the inside that matters’ continues to prove a starting point for conversations about mental health among all ages, but particularly our young people and their peers.

"Youngsters in Northamptonshire have dealt with a series of changes for nearly two years — to their education, leisure time, to their ability to socialise with their peers or see extended family.

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"This was evidenced in last month’s Talk Out Loud survey where a third said they were less happy than last year, citing school stresses and lockdown as key reasons.

"Sadly poor mental health affects not only our youngsters social well-being, but can also impact on their physical health, which is why we are committed to a range of sources of help for young people.

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"As well as The Talk Out Loud programme which runs in the county’s schools, young people can access additional support services, including counselling, through the Reach Partnership."

The libraries tour dates are: Mar 7 - Mar 31 Northampton Central Library; Apr 6 - Apr 25 Wellingborough; Apr 28 - May 26 Towcester; Jun 1 -J un 20 Corby; Jun 23 - Jul 24 Daventry; Jul 27 - Aug 15 Rushden; Aug 18 - Sep 11 Brackley; Sep 14 - Oct 10 Kettering; Oct 13 - Nov 6 Weston Favell.

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