Fantastic Fred visits local schools to support mental health and wellbeing

Ahead of World Mental Health Day 2019 (Thursday, 10 October) children in south west London have been learning from ‘Fantastic Fred’ about the key ingredients to good mental health.

Fantastic Fred is a new programme which takes a huge inflatable tent into schools, with a memorable live performance to teach children how to look after their own mental health.

F.R.E.D is an acronym for the four practical ways in which children can help to look after their own good mental health:

  • Food – eating the right foods
  • Rest – getting enough sleep
  • Exercise – being active
  • Digital Devices – managing time online

The Fantastic Fred Experience is currently touring primary schools across Kent as part of a campaign called Good Mental Health Matters, but primary schools in south west London were given the opportunity to trial the experience as part of the South West London Health and Care Partnership’s children and young people’s mental health programme.

Hundreds of children from primary schools in Wandsworth, Kingston and Merton have now seen the performance, with multiple performances on three different days over the past few weeks.

Jacqueline Valin, Principal of Southfields Academy in Wandsworth, said: “We were delighted to host the Fantastic Fred Experience as the lead school in the south west London mental health Trailblazer project.  Fantastic Fred was, indeed, fantastic! Our primary school pupils and secondary students thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about mental health among young people and how they can improve their lifelong emotional resilience.”

Dr Andrew Murray, clinical lead for the south west London programme said: “The pressures young people live with are growing and changing and we have to adapt to support them. It’s so important to get children talking about mental health early in their lives – schemes like Fantastic Fred are a brilliant way to do this and we’re extremely pleased schools in south west London were able to take part.

The south west London programme, which began in January 2018, has received over £6m of national Trailblazer funding to deliver support and training for children and young people, their families and teachers. Ten mental health support teams are being put in place in schools in the six boroughs – which will eventually support up to 81,000 young people, around half of all pupils.