Ant and Dec unveil STV’s new initiative during Britain’s Got Talent final

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BGT took on a whole new meaning on Saturday night as STV sprung a surprise by pausing Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions during its finale to launch its new mental wellness campaign, Britain Get Talking.
As the show built towards its climax, hosts Ant and Dec turned to viewers to unveil the initiative, which is supported by mental health charities Mind, YoungMinds and SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) in Scotland.
Suddenly calling a halt to proceedings, Ant and Dec addressed the audience, inviting viewers at home to turn their attention away from the acts competing for the BGT crown to focus instead on one another and let mental wellness take centre stage. 
Their message, at the core of the Britain Get Talking campaign, was the importance of taking steps to help maintain mental wellness, with making time away from distractions for regular conversation with friends and family recommended as a simple but effective measure.  Judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams then fell silent along with the audience as Ant and Dec brought Britain’s Got Talent to a silent stop for one minute while cameras broadcast shots of backstage crew holding up cards bearing slogans that read: “Use our silence to talk to each other.”
Highlighting the pressing need for a focus on mental wellness, particularly for young people, Dec said: “In the last 15 years there has been a staggering 48 per cent rise in anxiety and depression among British children [see Notes To Editors].  But something as simple as talking together and listening to each other can build our mental wellness.”
Ant added: “We all know that these days there are more distractions than ever, because we are looking at the telly or we’re looking at our phones.  But, it’s so important for our mental well-being to remember to get together with people we care about and talk.”
Following the pause, Dec joked: “The hardest thing was keeping [BGT judge] David Walliams quiet for a moment.”
He added: “Seriously though, just taking time to talk with your nearest and dearest can really make a difference, especially for young people, so please make sure tonight is just the start.”
Continuing the theme, the commercial break that followed featured the launch of STV’s new advertising campaign, followed by a special silent advertisement featuring a series of brands - Oral-B, Gillette, SEAT, Dunelm, Network Rail - which also promoted the Britain Get Talking message, encouraging viewers at home to turn their focus to each other.
STV’s Campaign for Mental Wellness has drawn inspiration from the Five Ways to Wellbeing  devised by the New Economics Foundation with an emphasis on promoting behaviour change through small, regular actions that positively support mental health.  
Under the theme “Connect”, one of the Five Ways to Wellbeing, the initiative’s first year will set out to improve resilience in young people by encouraging positive conversations and strong, supportive relationships, an effective way of building mental health.
As part of STV’s commitment to promoting this message an on air campaign has now begun, which, over the next month, will see ads featuring familiar STV faces using their silence to encourage viewers to catch up with one another at home and tune back in to their family’s story.
The stars lending their support to the campaign are drawn from across STV’s shows, from Soaps and Daytime to Entertainment, Factual, Sport and News.  They include: Dermot O’Leary, Coronation Street’s Alexandra Mardell, Rugby World Cup pundit and former England international Maggie Alphonsi MBE, Gordon Ramsay, Gino D’Acampo and Fred Sirieix, Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, Jonathan Ross, Julie Etchingham, Tom Bradby, Robert Peston, Mark Pougatch, Iain Stirling, Alex Beresford, Emmerdale’s Mark Charnock and Emma Atkins, Charlene White, Lucy Verasamy and Loose Women’s Nadia Sawalha, Saira Khan and Kaye Adams.
In support of the campaign, a Britain Get Talking website is now live online - Viewers will be signposted there for further information on the campaign and useful resources.
ITV and STV worked with creative agency Uncommon Creative Studio to develop the campaign. 
Simon Pitts, STV Chief Executive said: “Through this UK-wide campaign, in partnership with ITV, we want to encourage a national conversation about mental wellness as something that should be part of our everyday lives.  We’re pleased that SAMH, who recognise that talking is one of the first steps to improving mental health, are fully supporting the Britain Get Talking initiative. By disrupting Britain’s Got Talent on Saturday night, we’ve helped put the importance of mental wellness firmly in viewer’s minds and, through the campaign, will ensure that this is an ongoing conversation that will make a difference.”
Billy Watson, Chief Executive, SAMH said: “We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health, and it’s important that we take the time to look after it. Yet we know that many of us rarely do.  Connecting with others can make us feel happier and more secure; but even when we live under the same roof, it can be easy to disconnect and forget to spend time together.  That’s why we’re pleased to support this new campaign from STV, which is highlighting the impact that positive conversations about mental health can make.”
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, the mental health charity, said: “We are really pleased to be supporting STV’s campaign and to have the opportunity to help reach millions of people with messages about looking after your wellbeing. We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health, and we can learn to look after it. At a time when only a third of people with a mental health problem get access to any kind of help and support, it’s important to do whatever we can to help people take steps to stay well and try and prevent mental health problems developing in the first place. Encouraging families to focus on the wellbeing of the next generation is a fantastic place to start.”
Emma Thomas, Chief Executive of YoungMinds, said:“For young people, building good relationships with their families and friends can be really positive for their mental health and wellbeing. Strong relationships mean young people can share their feelings and worries more openly, with confidence that they will be listened to and understood.
“When young people are struggling with their mental health, it can be particularly challenging to talk openly about what they’re going through. That’s why we’re very pleased that, through Britain Get Talking, STV are encouraging parents and carers to have regular conversations with their children about how they’re feeling from a young age. The expert advisers from our Parents Helpline have provided practical advice for the campaign website, which we know will make a big difference.”
Britain Get Talking supported by YoungMinds and Mind is part of STV’s Campaign for Mental Wellness. For more information see
About SAMH
Around since 1923, SAMH currently operates over 60 services in communities across Scotland providing mental health social care support, addictions and employment services, among others. These services together with national programme work in See Me, respectme, suicide prevention, physical activity and sport; inform SAMH’s policy and campaign work to influence positive social change.
Social channels: Twitter: SAMHTweets Facebook: SAMHmentalhealth Instagram: SAMHScotland YouTube: SAMHfilms

Kirstin Stevenson
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Sarah Gaffney
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