It’s no secret that mental health has suffered in children for a number of years now, and research from NHS Digital in the U.K. puts a stark number on it—suggesting mental health has declined in almost 40% of British schoolchildren.
Now, ITV puts the focus on kids in the latest installment of its long-running “Britain Get Talking” mental-health campaign.
Working with a psychologist, the teaching community and creative agency Uncommon, the broadcaster has created “The Hardest Subject,” a campaign ahead of World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10 that includes a simple homework assignment for children nationwide to get kids talking with their families about what’s troubling them.
Here’s a film introducing the project:
The homework task for the kids is simple—just a basic prompt to explore what’s on their minds. ITV is working with schools and charity partners—Mind, YoungMinds and the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH)—on the campaign.
ITV presenters Ant and Dec, who have fronted the campaign for years, have recorded their own video that teachers can use to help explain the homework to their pupils and parents or carers. The task is available to download at itv.com/BritainGetTalking.
“ITV’s landmark ‘Britain Get Talking’ campaign has led to over 100 million new or meaningful conversations since launch, but mental health having declined in almost 40% of British school children is a staunchly sobering statistic,” said Susie Braun, director of social purpose at ITV. “This year, we’re continuing to focus on young people, as simply asking a child what’s on their mind can be key to them opening up and easing their worries. And this is homework for the adults too, so kids can finally get their own back!”
“There’s a natural inclination for parents to want to shield their children from bad news or scary headlines, but we know that children are already discussing—and worrying about—these issues with their peers,” said Lucy Jameson, co-founder of Uncommon Creative Studio. “Whether it’s the cost of living, the pressures of social media, or the threat of climate change, it can be challenging for children—and their parents—to share their feelings with one another, which is why this campaign and the homework ‘task’ is so important.”
The “Britain Get Talking” campaign launched around World Mental Health Day in 2019 with a silent ad break on ITV during the popular prime-time show “Britain’s Got Talent.” Five advertisers ran ads with no sound or dialogue in which people communicated only via placards.