Supporting children’s mental health


Article by Illo agent Temi Olarinoye.

Creating awareness through illustrations and animations has always been one of the most important issues for us at Illo and our artists. I’ve gathered together some incredibly beautiful and sensitive work created by the illo crew, who use their art to spread awareness for Mental Health Issues, and here’s why and how they approach this. Along with us hearing from some recent creatives we’ve worked with, asking what this means to them as publishers.

One of our artists Simona De Leo is a big advocate when it comes to raising awareness for mental health. She has done so much with social media campaigns for mental health awareness, illustrations and also creating a lot of illustrations based on children in lockdown and finding the positives in being at home during the difficult time. She also created a book about losing a family member.

Esther Lalannehas also done a few drawings and animation, also has collaborated with the BBC on mental health concerns affecting children. They examine a variety of subjects, including OCD, Depression, Anorexia, Panic, being bullied, and being a bully, using personal testimonials of their experiences and journey to recovery. She has created so much work that raises awareness for every individual’s mental health, it’s sensitive, supportive and understanding.

Long-term loneliness is linked to an increased risk of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and stress. You may be unable to enjoy yourself or be loved by others, or you may be lacking in self-confidence. Christopher Adams’ illustration called ‘Not So Lonely’ stands as a reminder and encouragement, a positive light to help and support.


Victoria Brooker, Managing Editor at Franklin Watts & Wayland, an imprint of Hachette Children’s Group says “Watts and Wayland publish many books for children that will help them understand and manage their mental health. It’s vitally important that children develop the skills needed to take care of their mental health at a young age because these skills can then be used throughout their lives.

 We have a wide range of books about understanding emotions, dealing with difficult situations, reducing stress and anxiety, coping with change and building resilience. The books can be used on their own or with adults to start discussions.

 Now more than ever, children need access to a range of resources to protect and assist them alongside support from adults and organisations.” The blend of words and images is a potent one. A growing number of graphic books for children’s mental health are being published. Children can understand how fictional characters deal with emotional issues that they relate to via drawing. Following characters to the conclusion of the book, to a happy ending, can provide youngsters with answers and coping techniques.

The blend of words and images is a potent one. A growing number of graphic books for children’s mental health are being published.

 We link authors and artists to guarantee that children have a greater chance of absorbing mindfulness and navigating their mental health.

 Featured Artist: Simona De LeoEsther LalanneWiliam LuongChristopher AdamsUma JoanaJuliana CuervoLo HarrisPontus ArvasenRialda Dizdarevic

 If you have any questions or a specific project in mind, please do get in touch: temi@illo.agency