UCLan psychologist’s ‘Science of Superheroes’ guide to boost children’s wellbeing

Posted on - 19th January, 2022 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Education, Health, Kid's stuff, Preston News, UCLan
Artwork created for the ‘Unmasked: The Science of Superheroes’ well-being supplement

A UCLan psychologist has joined up with a mental health trust to write a superhero-themed wellbeing guide for older children and young adults.

Following the successful Unmasked: The Science of Superheroes, one of the authors has published a well-being supplement with Cameron Grant Memorial Trust to help youngsters.

Unmasked, co-authored by seven practising UCLan scientists, reveals the scientific realities behind famous comic book legends and movies.

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Dr Sarita Robinson as a superhero as part of the ‘Unmasked: The Science of Superheroes’ well-being supplement

Dr Sarita Robinson, the author and an expert in the psychobiology of behaviour, said: “We have good guidance on looking after our physical health, but less is known about practical ways to look after our mental wellbeing.

“The Science of Superheroes provides age-appropriate advice and guidance for children and young adults on how to look after their mental health.

“Using superhero examples in our new online guide allows us to engage kids and young adults engagingly and enjoyably.”

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Dr Robinson said talking about how friends can help us through difficult times with examples of superhero teams helps bring the topic alive.

The guide continues the theme by using superheroes to illustrate the workings of science and psychological health for young people.

The free online resource, now available to download, was funded by the Cameron Grant Memorial Trust.

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It addresses issues like stress, anxiety and ways to manage it, sleeping better to improve mental health and coping methods during difficult times.

Dr Robinson said: “This online guide aims to encourage young people to open up and talk about their mental health and signpost them to other services if they are facing more significant mental health challenges.

“We hope that the Science of Superheroes – Wellbeing Edition – will help and support young people, especially after the challenges of the pandemic.”

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In the guide, readers learn what helps Thor feel better after the fall of Asgard, how the Hulk copes with anxiety, and how Batman deals with the stress of being a superhero.

It also highlights how a lack of sleep affects Mr Incredible and how Captain America benefits mentally from exercise.

Evan Grant, Chair of Trustees for Cameron Grant Memorial Trust, said: “Our goal is to help anyone in mental distress and especially young people to speak up and ask for help.

“We continually seek new ways to encourage people to open up and talk about their feelings. We love the idea of using superheroes to do this and are delighted to support this project.”

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Unmasked – The Science of Superheroes was published in 2020 by UCLan Publishing.

The book draws on computing, engineering, maths, physics, biology and psychology to explain the science behind the powers of popular superheroes, with each of the seven authors turned into superheroes within the pages to reflect the different types of superpowers.

The success has led to work with the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) under the Reading Agency Reading Sparks programme. The book received recognition as a title gifted to families experiencing hardship.

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The UCLan-assembled superpowered team of authors consists of Professor Robert Walsh alongside Dr Sarita Robinson, Nicky Danino, Dr Catherine Tennick, Dr Matthew Dickinson, Adam Wilcox and Dr Sylvy Anscombe.

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