Macdonald: Mental health campaign gives children a voice; to see

Macdonald: Mental health campaign gives children a voice;  to see

London – In a campaign to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, which is celebrated between 13 and 19 May, McDonald's has temporarily removed the smile that illuminates millions of Happy Meal boxes in the UK.

The goal is to remind kids that it's okay not to be happy all the time, helping to encourage family conversations about emotions and breaking down the stigma of forced happiness.

In a survey commissioned by the company, nearly half (48%) of the nation's children think they should be happy all the time, even if they don't feel like it.

McDonald's Campaign for Mental Health Week

Along with the limited-edition Happy Meal boxes, the stores are supplied with sticker sheets showing the range of emotions that children experience, so that they can interpret their feelings directly on the boxes.

In the campaign film, children talk about their difficulties in dealing with their feelings.

The campaign was created in partnership with BBC Children in Need. A dedicated center is designed to give families access to resources to encourage conversations about emotional well-being with children.

The hub is accessible through McDonald's website and social media channels, as well as via a QR code on limited-edition Happy Meal boxes.

Survey: Parents want children to be positive

With 74% of parents saying it's important to prevent their children from feeling sad, parents insist on always being positive for their children – and this puts more pressure on them.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of parents said they always encourage their children to be happy.

Former soccer star and father of five, player Rio Ferdinand co-sponsored the campaign with McDonald's and served as the film's narrator.

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She draws on her own experiences to highlight why it is so important for parents and families to have conversations about emotional well-being with their children.

“I've experienced firsthand with my own children how good communication and encouraging children to express how they really feel can help build trust and manage emotions.”

Fozia Irfan OBE, director of impact and influence at BBC Children in Need, says: “Ensuring children are happy is every parent's priority, but so is allowing children to express themselves and giving them the space they need to express themselves when they are not. Their best is equally important.

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