Subtitles reveal the truth about teen anxiety in eye-opening mental health ad

U.K. broadcaster ITV's latest chapter of 'Britain Get Talking' campaign comes amid growing crisis

Published On
Jul 26, 2022

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U.K. broadcaster ITV addresses the nation's growing teenage mental health crisis in the latest project from its "Britain Get Talking" campaign, which encourages people to open up and speak to each other about their problems. 

The film "The Break Through," created by Uncommon Creative Studio, uses subtitles to reveal the hidden subtext of a conversation between a father and daughter, illustrating the gap between what people say and what they really mean. It's one of those typical conversations parents and teenagers might have about the day at school, where the child's answers are monosyllabic and can hide a wealth of meaning; the father, too, is being guarded about what he asks, trying to get information without being too intrusive.

On the screen, the subtitles reveal that while the daughter says she's fine, she's actually had a terrible day; she shrugs off questions about a friend, but the truth is that her friend's rejection really hurts her. The father keeps trying to talk to her, at one point muting the TV in order to get her attention. Eventually, he breaks through and she opens up about what's bothering her. 

The spot, directed by Thirty Two via Anonymous Content, aired on ITV's morning show "Good Morning Britain" today (July 26) and will turn throughout the channel this summer. It is part of a wider campaign that aims to give parents tools to talk to their teenagers. It's supported by mental health charities Mind and YoungMinds and the Scottish Association for Mental Health.

It comes amid a growing teen mental health crisis; almost half of young people in the U.K. struggle with anxiety and more than 400,000 children and young people a month are being treated for mental health problems, the highest numbers on record.

"Exploring the gap between what we say and how we feel felt an important conversation to bring to bear, especially when it comes to the young people in our lives," said Nils Leonard, co-founder at Uncommon, in a statement. "Since launching 'Britain Get Talking' with ITV it has become the U.K.’s most recognized mental health campaign and started over 100 million conversations. We’re incredibly proud of the impact this initiative continues to have and is exactly the type of work we wanted to make when we set up Uncommon.”

“Britain Get Talking has always been about connecting, which is one of the most powerful ways we can look after our mental health," said Susie Braun, director of social purpose, ITV., in a statement. “With children and young people increasingly facing challenges to their mental wellbeing, this campaign encourages and celebrates taking the time and making space for conversation. We hope this campaign can be a reminder to anyone with a teenager in their lives to keep making time to break through.”