stopbreathethink stop.breathe.think

Snow-Camp has launched Stop.Breathe.Think, a mindfulness campaign using drill music to help tackle knife crime.

The campaign brings together drill artists and mindfulness experts to provide mindfulness techniques to help young people manage their emotions. The campaign will also encourage young people across the UK to sign up for our free series of mindfulness tutorials and free 1-1-counselling sessions.

Mindfulness, the ability to be fully present in the moment, teaches us how to change a rash, reactive mindset into a more considered, responsive and productive one. It provides practical ways to become less reactive, and more able to manage impulsive feelings and behaviours. Although mindfulness doesn’t eliminate factors that may lead to knife crime, such as fear, anger and anxiety, we hope that by providing young people with mindfulness techniques, they can become better equipped to handle their emotions in the moment – with a better chance of reacting calmly.

Listen to Breathe

The theme of the track, written by Nito NB for the campaign, is managing anger. Using his experience of growing up in London and the challenges experienced by young people every day, he talks about how young peoples’ reactions to the situations they face on a daily basis can alter their futures forever. The track encourages young people to stop and breathe before reacting, helping them make a better decision in the moment.

Who is Nito NB?

Nito NB is one of the UK’s top up and coming artists. Growing up between Northolt and Lewisham, Nito has created an uncompromising soundtrack to the London he has grown up in. His music expresses the issues and challenges many young people are facing on a daily basis.

“Growing up in my environment, I’m very familiar with the feeling of anger and the behaviours associated with it that can sometimes lead to violent crime. My mum became my coping mechanism and helped me channel my anger by giving me a chance to process, express and work through my feelings. That’s a big reason why I took the opportunity to work with Snow-Camp because I know the importance of being aware of how you feel. Being an angry youth is pointless, especially when there is simple mindfulness techniques we can use to help channel that anger into something way more productive. Don’t let an emotion like anger control your actions, just breathe and keep going.” – Nito NB

Behind the scenes

Nito NB worked with Snow-Camp mental health counsellor Kevin Hempstead to develop Breathe. As the recording progressed, LinkUp TV recorded some great behind the scenes footage. Check it out here.

A campaign led by young people

We worked with our young people to develop this campaign. We ran focus groups in London to discuss knife crime in the city, what influences and exacerbates it.

0% said that drill, grime and rap music significantly influence young people’s behaviour and artists have a responsibility to promote anti-crime and aggressive messages.
0% said the rise in knife crime is linked to young people’s mental health issues and their challenges with controlling their emotions.

Why mindfulness works

Katherine Weare, Emeritus Professor, University of Southampton and Co-Lead for Education Policy for the Mindfulness Initiative said:

“Research evidence is demonstrating that mindfulness is a foundational skill which can help all of us, young and old, to better manage and enjoy our complex lives and become the best version of ourselves we can be. Taking the time through mindfulness practice to become closely acquainted with the workings of our own mind, cultivating the ability to calmly watch our thoughts and emotions come and go in our minds and bodies, with kindness and curiosity, rather than getting caught up in their ‘reality’ is an essential human skill. For troubled souls and those with anger problems, finding practical ways to become less reactive, and more able to manage impulsive feelings and behaviours can be a life saver for the self and others.

Mindfulness also has been shown to build the attitudes and skills that create a sense of connection, compassion and empathy that can motivates us to find new ways of being with people that build kindness and cooperation. So finding vibrant and practical ways that can appeal directly to the young, the alienated, the troubled and the marginalised to help them to practice mindfulness in their everyday lives and get a grip on the impulses and feelings that are creating difficulties is potentially a transformative enterprise.”

The artwork

The artwork for the campaign was designed by Elena Gumeniuk, a leading graphic artist and illustrator, with our young people’s support. Young people’s emotions and memories are depicted as scribbles/fragments on the jacket and highlight some of the struggles and negative situations they face. The balaclava is a symbol of drill music, but the poster shows the young person pulling it down to release the past. The symbols on the balaclava represent intense emotions, but the young person in the poster is controlling these emotions by stopping, breathing and focusing on the present moment. 


Stop Breathe Think Billboard

Poster and billboard promotion

We want the campaign to reach as many young people as possible. The poster and billboard promotion will cover inner-city areas across London and we are working closely with our network of youth programmes nationally to share the poster even more widely. Young people can scan a QR code on the poster or follow a URL to reach the campaign landing page, where they can watch the Nito NB track, have access to free mindfulness videos and, if they just need to talk to somebody, they can request free online 1-1 counselling sessions at the touch of a button. Watch this space for information on the impact that the campaign is having!

We need your support

During the Covid-19 pandemic, our mental health work has become more important than ever before.

The impact of Covid-19 and the resulting lockdown have serious implications for the mental health of young people. From bereavement to job losses, to loneliness and relationship breakdown, the psychological strains caused by Covid-19 has intensified the need of our work. Through the campaign we hope to provide more young people with vital mental health support over the next few months. You can help us reach many more young people by donating to support our work. If you would like to donate please click the button below. Thank you.