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Headlines: a puppet-operated mental health news programme

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.

Latest episode

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 anxiety. 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!

  • What did you think when Zev, the kid in the episode, told Lora the parrot that he was nervous about going to the parade?
  • How do you feel when we’re getting ready to go to parties or family dinners? Do you ever feel nervous but are scared to tell me?
  • Do you know it’s OK to tell me when you’re nervous or feeling scared?
  • Is there ever a time when you tried to tell me you were nervous at a party and I didn’t hear you? Do you want to talk about that?
  • I know how it feels to not want to go somewhere because we’re tired or nervous. What do you think would help you feel less nervous?
  • What does “nervous,” “anxious” or “scared” mean to you? (Adults: We recommend picking one of these words, not all three; pick whichever word you think your child might most connect with.)
  • Is there a place in your body where you feel the nervousness? (Give an example of where you feel anxiety, like in your chest or stomach to help the child understand.)

Download our resources guide below, which includes these questions, craft ideas, and more.

Meet the characters

Illustration of Palmy with daisies.

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.

Illustration of Lora with daisies.

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.

microphone with daisies

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