• Kirsty Roberts

50,000 Special Teaching Versions of Sadsville Distributed to coincide with World Mental Health Day

Updated: Oct 8, 2020

To coincide World Mental Health Day on 10th October 2020, the Martin Roberts Foundation created a special 'Teaching Version' of Sadsville and sent it out for FREE to all primary schools and public libraries across the UK.

This next step in the Sadsville Campaign saw all 22,500 of Britain’s primary schools being provided with materials and guidance on how to help protect children’s mental health. Each school received two copies of a special ‘Teaching Version’ of Sadsville, which along with the original story, includes resources, teaching materials and a lesson or assembly plan which help improve children’s resilience and mental wellbeing.

In addition, every public library in the UK was sent a copy, allowing parents to access a physical version of the book alongside online and read-along versions and home study materials.

Recent research from Oxford University and the NSPCC has highlighted how the lockdown arising from the Covid-19 pandemic has affected children, key findings include:

· Primary school-aged children were most likely to seriously suffer from lockdown, with mean increases in emotional, behavioural and restlessness/inattention difficulties.

· The proportion of children likely to have significant difficulties (i.e., meet diagnostic criteria for a clinical diagnosis) in these 3 areas also increased, by up to 35% in primary school children**

· Calls into the NSPCC’s helpline increased by almost a third (32%) during lockdown on average, compared to the three months prior to lockdown – with May seeing the highest number made to the NSPCC helpline in a single month on record***

· In July, Childline revealed the service had delivered 22,000 counselling sessions to young people about mental health and well-being since the lockdown, including almost 2,000 with 11-year olds and under****

Martin Roberts said: “I have my own kids aged 10 and 13 so I understand the pressures that lockdown has put on young people, and felt moved to try to help highlight and find solutions to the issues that have been caused by Covid-19, as well as those which the NSPCC and their Childline service deal with on a daily basis.”

As part of the campaign, every primary school in the UK was given two free copies of the ‘Teaching Version’ of the Sadsville book, which includes specially written teaching materials, enabling schools to provide children with the means of understanding their emotions better, and where to find help should they need it. Sadsville directs such pupils to the NSPCC’s Childline service – a free, private and confidential service where children can talk to trained counsellors about anything that may be worrying them. Children can contact Childline on 0800 111 or

“The pandemic has had a significant impact on the lives of children, particularly for those where home is not a safe place. At Childline we have heard from thousands of young people about how the combination of the lockdown, the closure of schools and the lack of contact with friends and family has impacted on their mental health.

“The Sadsville book’s message is so important. No child should have to cope alone and Childline is here for them. I'm sure it will mean more young people know where to turn to for help.”

This latest project brings the total number of books distributed to over 80,000 meaning more children are being given the tools to help themselves if they are struggling with emotions and the information they need to reach out for help if necessary.

- **Oxford University Report available at:

- ***NSPCC report on effects of lockdown on children available at:

****NSPCC press release “Childline sees surge in children aged 11 and under reaching out with mental health concerns”

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