War Child UK, the charity for children affected by conflict, is breaking new ground and challenging the conversation around the mental health and wellbeing of children affected by war with the release of its newest video.

The hard-hitting film follows a small robot struggling to fit into everyday life; failing to bond with its mother, being withdrawn and struggling to make friends at school, having problems with studying and suffering from flashbacks of traumatic memories in a war zone - all to the upbeat soundtrack of the Marina and the Diamonds track I am Not a Robot.

The story concludes as a button on the robot’s suit is pushed, causing the metal armour to fall away and revealing a child inside the robot suit. The child, ‘Roberta’, had been wearing her traumatic experiences of surviving a conflict zone like armour, to help her close off from the outside world.

The video highlights the important issue of the strain that conflict can have on the mental health of children who have been affected by war, long after they have left the actual war zone and is part of War Child’s wider work prioritising the provision of mental health and psychosocial services for children affect by conflict, and their communities. The video is yet another move by War Child, who supports children affected by conflict across Africa, Asia and the Middle East, to move away from clichéd and disempowering aid videos and instead produce thought-provoking and respectful videos and campaigns.

In 2017, War Child Holland’s Batman video won a Cannes Golden Lion and a Golden Radiator in the annual Radi-Aid awards. War Child UK’s 2015 award-winning video Duty of Care video was also widely critically acclaimed.

Rob Williams, CEO of War Child UK says, “War Child is working to change the conversation around mental health for children living with the realities of war. We’ve seen a sea change in the perception of mental health in the UK, which is fantastic and it’s important to take these issues as seriously for children dealing with the real consequences of living through conflict.”

“Without this support children risk developing psychological and emotional problems later in life, severely limiting their ability, and that of their families and communities, to rebuild their lives once the conflict has ended.”

The charity is asking viewers to share the video, along with the hashtag #EscapeRobot

The video coincides the release of War Child’s new report, Reclaiming Dreams – prioritising the mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of children in conflict, which shows the scale of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) urgently needed to help children recover from the mental and emotional impact of their experiences and the destruction of their families and support networks.

The spot was directed by Thomas Paul Martin from Raw London.