ITV’s Britain Get Talking Campaign

ITV’s Britain Get Talking has led to 100 million conversations, and ITV sets out new target to encourage 200 million actions to support health by 2023

Ant and Dec announced in tonight’s Saturday Night Takeaway that Britons have started over 100 million new or more meaningful conversations since they launched the Britain Get Talking campaign just over two years ago.

This comes as ITV today announced a huge new target of encouraging the UK public to take 200 million actions by 2023 as part of their 5 year strategy to support mental and physical health.

Britain Get Talking is a campaign supported by Mind and YoungMinds, and by SAMH in Scotland, to encourage people to look after their mental health by connecting with others. It launched in 2019 by pausing the live broadcast of Britain’s Got Talent, and then as lockdown beckoned, Ant and Dec invited the nation to send their messages of support for broadcast and to stay in touch with the message that we’re ‘apart, but never alone.’

Since then research indicates that Britons have had 100 million new or more meaningful conversations as a result of the campaign, which has featured celebrities from Captain Tom to Susanna Reid, Maya Jama to Shirley Hancock. It was most recently on air with ITV’s Christmas campaign.

ITV originally set a target of getting 10 million people to take action as part of their 5 year commitment to support mental and physical wellbeing, but has already surpassed that, having encouraged 5.1 million people to take action in 2021 alone.

It was Ant and Dec who kicked off Britain Get talking’s lockdown campaign from an empty Saturday Night Takeaway studio at the start of the pandemic; and since the campaign launched in October 2019 Britain Get Talking has inspired over 100 million conversations.

Through groundbreaking mental health campaigns including Britain Get Talking, supported by Mind, YoungMinds and SAMH, and their partnership between ITV2 and Campaign Against Living Miserably, the broadcaster has encouraged viewers to reach out to loved ones, open up more about what’s on their mind, and find the things that give them a mood boost when they feel down.

ITV’s mental health strategy seeks to normalise the idea of looking after our mental health, just as we look after our physical health. Guided by mental health charity partners, its campaigns look to prompt action, with Britain Get Talking the UK’s most recognized mental health campaign, and the ITV2 x CALM ‘What gets you through’ partnership encouraging over 1 million young people to take action in 2021.

The mental health crisis has become increasingly acute in recent years; rates of depression more than doubled during the pandemic. As a result, mental health has remained a key focus for ITV and its Social Purpose strategy, which seeks to put the power of TV behind behaviour change campaigns that make a real difference to how we all take action to look after our health. The broadcaster has put significant weight behind these campaigns as a mark of its investment in the nation’s mental health. In 2021 the Britain Get Talking campaign reached 29.9 million people and the equivalent media value of both mental health campaigns totalled over £4.9 million.

Britain Get Talking campaigns have included the world’s first silent ad break to encourage viewers to connect with others and interruptions of live ITV shows by celebrity supporters such as Ant and Dec to remind viewers to check in with one another. This year the Britain Get Talking Christmas campaign, featuring Maya Jama, Joel Dommett and Emily Atack among others encouraged over 3 million people to listen more.

Alongside Britain Get Talking, in 2021 ITV2 formed a partnership with the suicide awareness charity Campaign Against Living Miserably that set out to help 1 million young people take action to care for their mental health. During the lockdown in April, a campaign fronted by Laura Whitmore, AJ Odudu and Dr Alex George encouraged young people to do the little things that get them through tough times. Later in the year Love Island Stars Kem Cetinay and Amber Gill fronted The Full Treatment, a new ITV Hub show in which celebrity guests were invited to Kem and Amber’s salon to chat about life’s ups and downs and how they’ve got through them. The show was accompanied by a campaign reminding ITV2 viewers that everyone experiences low moments and that there are things we can all do to get through them. Together the campaigns combined encouraged 1.1 million 16-34 year olds to care for their mental health.

In 2022, ITV has set a new target of encouraging 200 million actions to improve mental and physical health by the end of 2023. New campaigns from both Britain Get Talking and the ITV2 x CALM partnership will contribute to this target, and actions will be measured by monthly surveys of their audiences conducted by YouGov. Children’s health campaigns Eat Them to Defeat Them and The Daily Mile will also play a role in reaching this target.

Susie Braun, Director of Social Purpose, ITV said: “Britain Get Talking launched with a huge ambition of encouraging more people to connect in order to look after their mental wellbeing. When the pandemic began, talking to others became more important than ever before – so at ITV we’re delighted that we’ve been able to work with our partners Mind, YoungMinds and SAMH to see 100 million new or more meaningful conversations.’

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive at Mind, said: “It’s fantastic that Britain Get Talking has inspired a ground-breaking 100 million conversations about mental health. We all have mental health, just like we have physical health, and yet talking about it was once taboo. The campaign to encourage the nation to be more open – to talk and to listen – could not have come at a more crucial time. The last two years have been tough on us all, in fact our coronavirus survey showed that over half of adults and two thirds of young people said their mental health got worse during the pandemic. We’re incredibly proud to be a part of Britain Get Talking and we look forward to inspiring many more conversations together in the months and years ahead.”

Emma Thomas, CEO of YoungMinds said: “It is incredible that Britain Get Talking has encouraged so many open, supportive conversations across the country and YoungMinds is proud to be part of this campaign. These numbers echo what 3,000 young people have told us – that almost four in ten have spoken to friends, relatives, teachers and employers about their mental health for the first time since the pandemic began.

We also know from the young people and parents we work with how hard it can be to talk about the pressures you face, but the huge difference opening up can make to our mental health. We are proud to continue partnering with ITV to encourage even more conversations in the coming year and excited to see even more people getting talking.”

Billy Watson, Chief Executive at SAMH said: “At SAMH, we know that a conversation about mental health can be life-changing. That’s why we’re proud to support the Britain Get Talking campaign which has led to millions of these discussions during a hugely difficult time for many. We’ll continue to back this important campaign as we seek to reach even more people across Scotland and the UK.”

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