Sheen and Hesmondhalgh front Papyrus's online child safety campaign

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Stars including actors Julie Hesmondhalgh, Michael Sheen and Carrie Hope Fletcher have taken part in the celebrity Bedtime Stories campaign launched by anti-suicide charity Papyrus.

The Warrington organisation wants to help protect children from the nightmare of cyber bullying and harmful online content, and has created a series of videos featuring high-profile faces. The actors are joined by Anton Danyluk, former Love Island star, to complete the line-up.

The hard-hitting films narrated by the celebrities are designed to raise awareness of the impact online bullying and dangerous content can have on children and young people, according to Papyrus.

The campaign - as well as 2018's instalment of Bedtime Stories - was created in association with TBWA\MCR. 

In response to statistics that more than 200 schoolchildren die by suicide each year. four films were created. They are all set in a welcoming and seemingly safe bedroom, beginning softly but with a twist. Instead, they're dark tales which warn of hidden dangers. It shows that the darkest parts of life still find their way into bedrooms via the internet.

In the short films, Michael Sheen reads 'Annabelle and The Trolls', Julie Hesmondhalgh reads about 'Rachel and the Rabbit Hole', Anton Danyluk reads 'Benji and the Keyboard Warrior', while Carrie Hope Fletcher reads 'Harry and The Haters'.  

Michael Sheen said: “I’m incredibly proud to be part of the campaign, which highlights the very real dangers that young people face in our increasingly digital world.

“Bedtime Stories speaks to those with young children, or indeed young people in their lives, raising awareness of how the online environment can impact on the mental health of those using it and reminds them that Papyrus is here for them, should they need help and support.”

Ged Flynn, Chief Executive of Papyrus, said: “We are so grateful to Michael, Julie, Anton and Carrie for lending their star qualities and unique personalities to deliver what is a very powerful campaign.   

“The Bedtime Stories were written to provoke a reaction, particularly among parents. We want them to think ‘what does my child read before going to bed and before they go to sleep?’

“Are they reading hurtful text messages on their phone? Maybe they are looking at something inappropriate, upsetting and harmful on social media? As they close their eyes are they feeling hurt, scared, sad or overwhelmed?”

Julie Hesmondhalgh said: “Having met some of the families who have lost children and young people to suicide, I feel very honoured to be part of this eye-catching and original campaign.  

“As anyone who works in the mental health field will tell you that awareness is key, knowing how to see the signs in those around you, but also knowing where to seek help and how to talk to people who are struggling.

“In these extremely challenging times, organisations like Papyrus are needed more than ever.”