Multi-award-winning theatre, drama and creative learning charity Mortal Fools support 500+ North East young people’s mental health and well-being.

Melva Mapletree and the Quest for Barnabas Boggle; Mortal Fools’ online, interactive storytelling game supporting children’s mental health and wellbeing is available NOW for families, schools and community groups everywhere.

The global pandemic has turned all our lives upside down but especially for children and young people. Children’s mental health problems were already on the rise pre-COVID-19, with Public Health England estimating that 1 in 8 young people have a diagnosable mental health condition and now there are growing fears that the global pandemic, lock downs and social distancing will have a negative lasting impact on many children’s well-being.

In response to this reality in March 2021, multi-award-winning theatre, drama and creative learning charity Mortal Fools and creative agency, Vida Creative, launched Melva Mapletree and the Quest for Barnabas Boggle; a digital, fun and creative resource designed to help young people aged 7-11 better understand, talk about and manage their everyday worries and anxieties in the contemporary modern world. This interactive, choose your own adventure style game has so far supported 500+ North East young people’s mental health and well-being.

Melva Mapletree and the Quest for Barnabas Boggle follows the adventure of Melva; a mountain-climbing, sweet-eating, eyerolling, just-turned-11-year-old, who has been battling with anxiety – or ‘worrits’ as she calls them. We meet Melva as she tries to manage a changing world, with new worrits popping up every day and users help her on her quest to find her missing best friend Barnabas Boggle. The game is available to families, schools and community groups everywhere now and Mortal Fools’ ambition is that it helps thousands of young people across 2021 to better understand, talk about and manage their everyday worries and anxieties in the contemporary modern world.

Cragside Primary School Headteacher said “The pupils constantly ask me when we are playing the Melva game next! The children love the character of Melva. The format is engaging - they like the idea that they are making choices in the game that influence the story. It explores topics such as anxiety in a relaxed and fun way.”

The game builds on Mortal Fools’ success of the Melva stage play; a creative intervention programme for key stage two children, their teachers and families. It was designed in response to the 2017 green paper “Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision” with creatives, educators and mental health professionals. Across 2017-2020, the Melva performance package with live workshops, toured schools across the North and venues engaging nearly 2000 young people. The Melva game is a new Melva story with additional characters, it builds on the original story but also stands alone.

Kiz Crosbie, Mortal Fools’ CEO & Artistic Director said “We are so proud to have launched this fun and creative way for children to learn and talk about their worrits. As a parent of an 11 year old, I’ve been especially conscious of the impact of life changes, friendship challenges and a global pandemic can have on our small people. My daughter loves the Melva story, the characters and the game format; I hope many other families will find it fun and useful too.”

Melva Mapletree & the Quest for Barnabas Boggle is available now for £9.99 per family (up to 4 users). The fun, interactive game provides child-friendly, accessible language to talk about mental health and wellbeing, practical strategies and resources for managing worries and an easy and creative context to have open conversations about anxieties and relationships.

The school’s version is available for £350 per school and has additional school resources. Schools can use it together as whole class with group interactive whiteboards at home and/or at school. From Autumn 2021, schools will be able to purchase a larger digital package for £750 including the stage play reimagined for film and new digital workshops.

Primary schools in Northumberland are eligible for a 30% discount, thanks to funding and support from Public Health England and Northumberland County Council.

Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson, cabinet member for Children's services at Northumberland County Council said: "We know that for many children the current crisis has been very challenging as they have had to cope with not being in school or seeing their friends and family. We are delighted to be supporting Mortal Fools in their Melva Online initiative, which will help young people to better understand their feelings and emotions in a fun and engaging way."

Melva Mapletree and the Quest for Barnabas Boggle is the perfect fun digital tool to support a young person’s mental health during this challenging time. Families, schools and community groups can get more information and play now by visiting www.melva.org.uk

Melva Mapletree and the Quest for Barnabas Boggle was funded by Mortal Fools, Arts Council England, Public Health England, Northumberland County Council and Gateshead Council.

For more information about Mortal Fools visit www.mortalfools.org.uk or for the very latest news and follow @mortalfoolsUK across all social media platforms including their YouTube Channel.

 

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