Ruth Davidson to chair new ITV Mental Health Advisory Group

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ITV has announced that the Rt Hon Ruth Davidson, MSP, will be the chair of its new Mental Health Advisory Group.
Ruth will join Paul Farmer, CEO of mental health charity, Mind, Emma Thomas, CEO of Young Minds and Billy Watson, CEO of SAMH, on the advisory group which will provide guidance and support on all aspects of ITV, and STV’s, approach to mental health and wellbeing among its people, production teams, participants in its shows and audiences. 
This announcement follows the launch of Britain Get Talking, supported by Mind, Young Minds and SAMH, which is the first stage of ITV’s new five year Mental Wellness Campaign at the heart of its Social Purpose strategy.  
ITV also recently published new guidelines for producers on protecting programme participants with a focus on the mental health of the people who appear on its shows and its Duty of Care Charter, which laid out its commitment to the mental and physical well-being of all people working for, or with, ITV. 
As Chair, Ruth will lead the group as it advises both on best existing practice and on evolving new thinking on mental health to help ITV and STV prioritise changes or improvements. 
The Mental Health Advisory Group will meet four times a year to bring ideas, feedback and provide practical advice. ITV and STV will give proper consideration to the views put forward from IMHAG and seek to reflect them in their policies and decision-making. 
Former leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, Ruth is a sitting MSP and has a background as a journalist.  She has previously spoken powerfully on mental health issues, including in her own life.
Ruth Davidson said: "Television can have a huge impact on people’s lives and on the life of the nation. Creating a culture which supports the mental health of one another is so important and ITV and STV’s position means they can make a real difference in working towards this goal. I’m excited to be involved in ITV and STV’s efforts to bring mental wellbeing to the centre of our national conversation. It is so important to talk. The advisory group will have a huge role in setting the broadcasters’ overall mental health strategy and I look forward to working with ITV and STV to make a genuine difference to people’s lives."
Carolyn McCall, CEO ITV, said: “Ruth’s background in media and politics and her courage to talk publicly about mental health in her own life, make her absolutely the right person to chair ITV’s Mental Health Advisory Group.  Ruth will bring energy, passion and judgement to a hugely important role and alongside the new members we’re announcing today, Paul Farmer from Mind, Emma Thomas from Young Minds and Billy Watson from SAMH, will help ITV and STV to ensure we deliver on our top priority: caring for the mental health and wellness of our own people, those who make and take part in our programmes and, of course, the millions of people who watch our programmes.”
Simon Pitts, CEO STV, said: “Mental wellness is a priority for us at STV and we are delighted to be partnering with ITV to ensure that mental wellbeing becomes part of everyone’s everyday lives and culture.  We’re committed to working closely with our colleagues at ITV,Ruth, the Advisory Board and charity partners to ensure best practice, and to help make a difference for our staff, production teams and audiences at home.”
Paul Farmer, CEO Mind, said: “It’s so important for broadcasters to make sure that the mental health of everyone involved in making programmes, from production staff to contributors, is looked after. As an employer ITV is rightly looking at workplace wellbeing, while recent scrutiny of the mental health of people appearing on programmes has highlighted the need for support before, during and after programme-making. We are pleased to be involved in ITV’s advisory group and look forward to working alongside people with direct experience of the issues to support ITV in its work.”
Billy Watson, CEO SAMH, said: “As well as supporting the Britain Get Talking campaign launch, SAMH is delighted to be a member of ITV’s new Mental Health Advisory Group and we welcome ITV and STV’s long term commitment to mental health and wellbeing. 
“Their Mental Wellness Campaign sets out a strong ambition with wide-ranging activities and audiences. The potential for significant positive impacts on mental wellbeing, demonstrated through people and teams, programmes and audience engagement, is huge.
“I will be pleased to support  Ruth as Chair of the Advisory Group and look forward to contributing both from a Scottish perspective and more extensively across the nation.”
Emma Thomas, CEO Young Minds, said: “We are pleased to be part of ITV’s new Mental Health Advisory Group, ensuring that the views of young people with mental health problems are heard and reflected in decisions about programming. Television can have a really positive effect on young people’s mental health, but of course in some circumstances it can add to the pressures they face. It’s crucial that the mental health of participants, staff and viewers is properly considered, and we are pleased that ITV is building on its Britain Get Talking campaign by seeking guidance on how to ensure that its programmes have a positive impact on wellbeing.”
In addition to the group members announced today, more members will be appointed to bring further expertise in employee mental health, professional insight as well as viewer representation to the group.

For further information, please contact:
ITV press office
Grant Cunningham
020 7157 3023

STV press office
Kirstin Stevenson
0141 300 3886
Katie Martin
0141 300 3109