Being a kid has never been easy, and the past two years haven’t helped. As children and teens struggle to navigate life in our post-pandemic world — inundated with (sometimes scary) content on social media and feeling pressured to succeed in school — our country and community have seen a rise in mental health complications among youths.
The L.A. Times and Bob Baker Marionette Theater partnered up to try to help.
“Head-lines” is a mental health-focused news show, run by puppets (and maybe some adults in the background). Our four episodes explain complicated mental health concepts to kids, tackling the topics of anxiety, homelessness, fears, and grief. Our goal is to introduce children to new coping skills and help build resilience in our viewers.
The L.A. Times, in partnership with Bob Baker Marionette Theater, brings you “Head-lines,” a weekly mental health news show run by puppets. In four episodes, we will explore anxiety, homelessness, fears and grief. Join us on this thoughtful, hopeful and sometimes funny journey.
Resources for parents (and other old people! 😜) to continue the conversation
Hey, adults! The “Head-lines” crew wants to make it easy for you to keep the conversation going after watching this week’s episode about phobias. Here are some questions you can ask to stimulate further dialogue between you and your kiddos.
Please note: If this is the first time you’re having these conversations as a family, be kind to yourself -- it can be hard to get our kiddos to open up. It’s OK if they’re hesitant at first. But over time and with practice, we hope that your family can build trust, develop productive ways to share more about mental health and grow closer. After all, we’re all fronds here!
Let’s get crafty!
Draw those feelings
Together, as a family, draw what your fear looks like. Is it a big scary blob? Or a little mean shrimp? What color is it? What does its nose look like? Its feet? Is it fluffy? Shiny? Get as creative as you want. And feel free to draw other feelings too, like anxiety, anger or sadness.
Then, as a family, talk about what it feels like to see your fear(s) and other feelings in front of you. What do you want to say to your fear?
Grab some note cards or quarter-size pieces of paper and have each family member write phrases and images that make them feel safe. Maybe it’s a friendly dog with the words, “You are safe.” Or some nice flowers that remind you of your grandma’s garden. Decorate your cards and keep them handy -- maybe stick them on the fridge or a mirror somewhere -- to remind you when you’re feeling scared of what helps you feel safe.
- Can you remember a time when you did something, even though you were scared? What did you learn from that?
- How would you talk to a friend who was feeling scared about something? What do you think are some nice ways to ask if a friend is scared?
- Why is it important for us to acknowledge when our friends or family members are scared?
Download our resources guide below, which includes these questions, craft ideas, and more.
Meet the characters
Palmy Nomanderson (they/them):
Played by Kat Williams
An award-winning journalist, Palmy transplanted to L.A. from Jamaica after a seasoned career there. They recently won the prestigious Palme d’Or (like a Pulitzer, but shinier) for their critical series, “Caleafornia,” exploring how climate change is affecting the trees and shrubbery of L.A.
Lora Jacaranda (she/her):
Played by Molly Fite
A wild Pasadenan parrot with a knack for squawking about the latest news. She is Head-lines reporter on the street, walking (and did we mention squawking?) through the zippy zany streets of Los Angeles in search of her next story.
Previously on Head-lines
Being a kid has never been easy.
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