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ITV marks Mental Health Awareness Week

ITV marks Mental Health Awareness Week as part of its continuing commitment to get the nation talking and promote mental wellness 

Alastair Campbell guest presenting on Good Morning Britain, new Britain Get Talent talking podcast episodes, a special edition of Loose Men, and a special ident created by an artist and a neuroscientist are all part of ITV’s plans to get the nation talking and promote mental wellness during Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16th May, 2021). 

ITV launched its mental wellness campaign, Britain Get Talking, nearly three years ago, in October 2019 by pausing Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions to create a space to start a national conversation about mental wellness. Since then, Britain Get Talking campaigns, supported by the charities Mind, YoungMinds and SAMH, have been a regular feature on ITV, with the current campaign, ‘The better we talk, the better we feel’ culminating during Mental Health Awareness Week. ITV’s five year mental wellness campaign is at the heart of its Social Purpose strategy, and seeks to encourage all of us to look after our mental health by connecting with others. 

To date over 56 million actions have been taken as a result of the Britain Get Talking campaign to support mental wellbeing by connecting with others, which is nearly an action for every adult in the UK.*

In October 2019, ITV also announced the creation of a Mental Health Advisory Group, chaired by Ruth Davidson with members including Paul Farmer, CEO of mental health charity, Mind, Emma Thomas, CEO of Young Minds and Billy Watson, CEO of SAMH, on the advisory group which provides guidance and support on all aspects of ITV, and STV’s, approach to mental health and wellbeing among its people, production teams, participants in its shows and audiences.  Dr Alex George, former Love Island star and UK Youth Mental Health Ambassador, has joined the advisory group this year. Also in 2019, ITV published guidelines for producers on protecting programme participants with a focus on the mental health of the people who appear on its shows and its Duty of Care Charter, which laid out its commitment to the mental and physical well-being of all people working for, or with, ITV.

Ruth Davidson, Chair of ITV’s Mental Health Advisory Group said: "Keeping across our mental health is important for all of us which is why creating a culture which supports the mental health of one another is so important. 

"ITV can speak to more people, and reach more communities, than almost any other organisation in Britain and I think it is brilliant that ITV is choosing to use that powerful platform to bring mental wellbeing to the centre of our national conversation. Opening up and talking can make such a difference and ITV's championing of that message will help so many to take the first step. 

"I have been so impressed at how willing ITV has been to seek out and listen to external voices and experts, through initiatives like the Mental Health Advisory Group, which has helped inform and guide the broadcaster’s mental health strategy.

“ITV's ongoing work, such as its many activities during Mental Health Awareness Week, makes a real and positive difference to people's lives. "

Britain Get Talking continues to be a major focus for ITV. The current campaign, which launched with a stunt featuring Ant, Dec and Sir Mo Farah in Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway on 3rd April, continues through into Mental Health Awareness Week with a campaign centred around the idea that ‘The better we talk, the better we feel.’ Adverts featuring Roman Kemp, Alex Beresford and Rochelle Humes as hosts, point to ‘The How To Chat Show’ on ITV Hub, a series of short-form films featuring Anne-Marie, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Nicholas Pinnock, Dr Ranj and Charlene White, discussing different ways to have a better quality of conversation. 

The Britain Get Talking digital on-screen graphic and Britain Get Talking break bumpers will appear across the week, totalling 570 Britain Get Talking messages on air, reminding viewers that the better we talk, the better we feel.

Further detail on ITV’s support for Mental Health Awareness Week:  

This year ITV will continue to support Mental Health Awareness Week across a range of programmes in its schedule, as well as in marketing and on-air promotions planned for the week.

Alastair Campbell - writer, campaigner and ex-right hand man to former Prime Minister Tony Blair - will be a guest presenter on Good Morning Britain alongside Susanna Reid from Monday 10th until Wednesday 12th May 2021 coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Week, an area he has spoken openly and honestly about in relation to his own mental health struggles. Singer and actor Max George this morning gave his first TV interview since opening up about his mental health and depression. Plus Hollywood actress Goldie Hawn will be talking about mental health in children, particularly following the pandemic. Her foundation runs a programme in schools (including in the UK) called ‘MindUP’ which looks at mindfulness, happiness and mental health for kids. Also this week, actor Russell Tovey discusses the anxiety that comes with being a performer and learning to dance for a powerful video exploring the breakdown of mental health, as well as his new book and podcast Talk Art.

For over a year now on Lorraine, Dr Alex George has been campaigning for better mental health for NHS staff as well as for schools through Lorraine’s HEADucation campaign which also saw him become the Government Ambassador for youth mental health. As part of its Mental Health Awareness content, Dr Alex will be talking to Lorraine about his new book which "provides an invaluable toolkit for both physical and mental wellbeing, viewing them very much as interdependent on each other." Also as part of Lorraine's HEADucation campaign, actress and former anorexia sufferer Gemma Oaten takes Dr Alex back to her old school to talk about the importance of raising awareness for the country’s biggest mental health killer. Scarlett Moffatt will also be talking about how the Samaritans helped her and now she’s supporting ‘Samarathon’, which is launching in Mental Health Awareness Week.

Loose Women is once again transforming into Loose Men for the day. Anchor Richard Madeley and panellists Jordan Banjo, Robert Rinder and Martin Kemp will take over the iconic desk to kick off lunchtime Thursday 13th May at 12.30pm on ITV and ITV Hub. Coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Week, the all-male all-star panel is the next phase of Loose Women’s Stand By Your Men mental health campaign which, alongside ITV’s Britain Get Talking campaign, urges men to open up and seek help when needed. It follows the first all-male panel in the show’s 21-year history last November to mark International Men’s Day and continues Loose Women’s award-winning strand ‘Lighten The Load', encouraging viewers to open up about their mental health struggles.   As well as discussing mental health, the tools they use and their own personal experiences, the foursome will be delving into hot topics and taboo talking points in true Loose style.

Alongside the daily expert led phone-in’s on This Morning, Josie Gibson meets a local hiker in Loch Lomond and they discover the mental health benefits of the great outdoors, including a wild swim as well. This Morning will also hear the story of how a disabled man's life was transformed thanks to the help of a guide dog. 

All ITV’s nations and regions news programmes are planning to cover mental health awareness week in their 6pm programmes this week.  Subjects vary from ITV News Granada who are investigating the lack of mental health beds available in the North West, to ITV News Central who are producing a powerful three part series on men's mental health, speaking to those who'd considered suicide and looking at the different types of help available. So far in 2021, even before Mental Health Awareness Week, ITV’s regions have produced around twenty two and a half hours of coverage on mental health. 

There will be further instalments of the Britain Get Talking Podcast where host Kylie Pentelow speaks to people in the public eye about their mental wellbeing. News at Ten anchor Tom Bradby, Daytime host Lorraine Kelly and actor Jason Watkins are among the stars who have opened up about their own mental health experiences and stories in the past, and during Mental Health Awareness Week a new series will kick off with Alastair Campbell, with other episodes including actor Nicholas Pinnock and Scarlett Moffatt to follow.

And ITV's ident for the month of May is created by June Mineyama-Smithson, an artist and graphic designer known as MAMIMU, collaborating with Dr Tara Swart, a medical doctor and Neuroscientist. To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, their mission is to create a piece of art that brings happiness and optimism to the nation through the TV screen. More information on the ident’s design can be found on the ITV Creates website: https://www.itv.com/itvcreates/articles/an-itv-creates-collaboration-by-mamimu-and-dr-tara-swart-or-mental-health.

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*Source, YouGov surveys (1000- 2000 UK Adults, nationally representative) The surveys measure what percentage of audiences have seen ITV campaigns and what actions audiences have taken as a result. This data is then extrapolated to give a total audience number. The actions starting a conversation with someone, or having a better quality of conversation, as a result of the campaign, whether through a call, text or in person.