Ant and Dec helping to tackle crippling decline of children's mental health

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Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly are doing their bit to help tackle the children’s mental health crisis in the UK.

The Geordie presenters are part of a new ITV and STV initiative from the UK’s most recognised mental health campaign: Britain Get Talking.

On learning that mental health has declined in almost 40% of school children, celebrities will join forces with the broadcaster to encourage every school in the country to set a different type of homework ahead of this year’s World Mental Health Day on October 10.

The task, developed in partnership with a children’s clinical psychologist, will act as a prompt to encourage children to talk about what is on their mind, and to help ease any stress or anxiety they might be feeling.

To promote this message further, ITV has created a moving ad, running across the suite of ITV channels and ITVX, that taps into this insight.

The short film features a cast of children from across Britain, sending a powerful rallying cry to the adults in their lives to have a conversation with them about what’s on their minds.

With the ambition to reach every British school and create an important national conversation, Ant and Dec will be joined by other famous faces throughout the campaign, with celebrities encouraging Britain to Get Talking.

As part of this year’s Britain Get Talking campaign, ITV is also set to announce two one-off special shows.

Ant and Dec will also feature in an assembly film that teachers can use to explain the homework to their pupils and parents, guardians or carers.

Susie Braun, Director of Social Purpose ITV said: ‘ITV’s landmark Britain Get Talking campaign has led to over 100million new or meaningful conversations since launch, but mental health having declined in almost 40% of British school children is a staunchly sobering statistic.

‘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! Come on Britain, Get Talking.’

Laura Bunt, Chief Executive of YoungMinds added: ‘Whether it’s exam pressure or the climate crisis, body image or bullying, it can be really hard for children and young people to open up about what’s troubling them.

‘And it can be hard for adults to know how to start those conversations – talking about what’s on your mind can help. We hope this simple homework exercise initiates thousands of helpful conversations across the country.’

Dr Sarah Hughes, CEO of Mind, also said: ‘It’s so important we hold space to ask the children in our lives, “What’s on your mind?” That’s why we’re proud to support ITV’s Britain Get Talking campaign.

‘Talking isn’t the whole solution, but it can help us feel more able to cope and encourage us to seek support if we need to. And we know that the earlier a person can get support for their mental health, the more effective it’s likely to be.’

Since its initial launch, research indicates that Britons have had 100million new or more meaningful conversations as a result of the campaign.

It has featured celebrities from Sir Captain Tom Moore to Susanna Reid and Maya Jama to Shirley Hancock.

Need support for your mental health?

You can contact mental health charity Mind on 0300 123 3393 or text them on 86463.

Mind can also be reached by email at [email protected].

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