Project Poppy

Make (Good) Trouble CIC, supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, is working on a project to explore the mental health and wellbeing of women during the First World War as well as the perception of mental health in society at the time. 

What is Project Poppy all about?
Project Poppy is about how you, as young people, interpret the story of what happened to women during the First World War, about how the War affected their mental health (a story that hasn’t really been told), and to explore what that might mean to young people today – to find a link between then and now. In this time of Covid-19 and lockdown, there are also parallels to be explored.

There has been a huge focus on men and shell-shock in The Great War but little information available about the effect on women’s mental health during that time. Our project aims to uncover the lives of women affected and create new narratives which will look at how mental health was perceived then, in comparison with today.

How you can be a part of Project Poppy
Each section of this project has its own web page listed in the pink box at the top of each page – we will create more sections in the coming weeks. You can explore the history of women in the War with suggestions of things to read and watch, plus get involved in the creative tasks at the end of each section.

1 An Introduction to Project Poppy
2 Mental health then and now
3 Women’s stories in WW1
4 Letters home

The background to the project
We set up Make (Good) Trouble in order to create a better understanding between teenagers and adults about mental health because there seems to be a growing gap in that understanding. There are plenty of parents who struggle to understand the world that their children are growing up in. So we decided that we wanted to help give young people a voice – a place where they can speak through films, radio shows, blogs and vlogs about the things that matter to them around mental health and wellbeing.

Project Poppy logos designed by students at Hove Park School

Who is Poppy?
That is for you to decide! We want you to bring our fictional character to life over the next few weeks…

  • How old is she?
  • Where does she live?
  • What did she do during the War? Was she a nurse? A volunteer? A factory worker? A mum at home trying to cope with her husband away fighting at the Front?
  • How did the War affect her mental health? Did she feel empowered by going out to work for the first time? Did she feel discriminated against because she was earning far less money than men for doing the same work? If she was a nurse, how was she affected by the often horrific injuries she had to treat, the long hours? Perhaps she lost someone close to her – a husband, father, friends?
  • What are her hopes for the future?
  • How does Poppy’s life compare with yours?

🌸 Watch this video about Women’s roles in the First World War

We want to work with you to tell the story of how women experienced the First World War and how it affected their mental health.

Get creative

🌸 Design a logo for Project Poppy.
At the top of this page are some project logos designed by students at Hove Park School.

Add your thoughts in the comments below. Or post your images on social media and tag us!
Twitter: @makegoodnews
Instagram: @wemakegoodtrouble
Facebook: /wemakegoodtrouble

Next: 2 Mental Health then and Now