• Mental health has declined in almost 40% of school children1
  • Britain Get Talking is setting the nation a different kind of homework for World Mental Health Day 
  • A task designed to help ease stress and reduce anxiety asking young people what's on their minds?  

Today, STV and ITV launch a new initiative from the UK’s most recognised mental health campaign: Britain Get Talking. The broadcaster is encouraging every school in the country to set a different type of homework ahead of World Mental Health Day on October 10. The task encourages young people to have a proper chat with an adult they trust, on the hardest subject: What’s on their minds?

This homework task comes at a time when we’ve never needed it more - a cost of living crisis, a pandemic and troubling world events have all had a negative impact on our children’s mental health like never before. In fact, mental health has declined in almost 40% of school children1.

To promote this message further, a moving ad has been created, running on STV and STV Player, 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.

You can view the advert here.

To combat this, the new initiative launches with the ambition to reach every British school and create an important national conversation - and in doing so, help children across Britain share what’s on their minds through this unique homework exercise. STV and ITV are working directly with schools and charity partners - Mind, YoungMinds and the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) on the roll-out.

Ant and Dec continue to front the Britain Get Talking campaign, following on from the initial launch in 2019. The iconic duo feature in a fun and interactive assembly film which teachers are able to use to help explain the homework to their pupils and parents or carers. Then the homework task, developed in partnership with a children’s clinical psychologist, will act as a prompt to help children to open up. This will be available to download as a printout at: www.stv.tv/BritainGetTalking alongside further advice and support.

You can view the Ant & Dec assembly video here.

STV will also have a special hour of Britain Get Talking programming on World Mental Health Day, introduced by Ant and Dec, including a Martin Lewis Money Show Live special as well as a Tonight exclusive with Susanna Reid who investigates children’s mental health and the importance of us talking together as a family.

Blockquote open These continue to be difficult times for so many people across the country and looking after our mental health remains a priority for everyone. We’re pleased to be raising awareness via the latest Britain Get Talking campaign, which we hope will help make a difference to young people and families right across Scotland and the UK. Blockquote close

Bobby Hain MD of Broadcast at STV

Blockquote open We know that the pandemic has had, and continues to have, huge implications for young people lives. Add to this anxieties around cost-of-living and climate change; and it’s clear that it’s more important than ever that we support young people to talk about their worries and to ask for help should they need it. SAMH is proud to support Britain Get Talking, and we hope to see people across Scotland taking part. Blockquote close

Billy Watson Chief Executive of SAMH

Talking is often the first step in helping ease stress and reduce anxiety. According to research conducted by YoungMinds, 87% of young people worry about climate change and 82% of young people worry about political issues2 such as war and conflict. Often parents shy away from talking about these ‘adult’ topics, as they don’t want to worry their children, but their children are already aware of and, sadly, worrying about these issues.

This new campaign was created in partnership with Uncommon Creative Studio.


Notes to Editors: 

Source: 1 NHS Digital

Source: 2 Deconstructing the System 

OnePoll survey of 1000 parents of 9-15 year old/ 1000 children aged 9-15; September 2023 found:

  • Over half (52%) of children aged 9-15 said they felt anxious last week
  • Over 3/4 (78%) of parents with children aged 9-15 agree that their children comprehend what's going on in the news
  • Two thirds (67%) of parents with children aged 9-5 agree that young people have enough to worry about without worrying about what’s going on in the news as well
  • Parents of children aged 9-15 are more likely to talk to their kids about child-focused topics such as school work and exams (74% say “very likely”) and social media (50%) than they are bigger external factors such as war and conflict (17%) or money worries (22%)
  • Parents of children aged 9-15 feel more comfortable talking to their kids about school work and exams (68% say “very likely”) than they do those trickier external issues such as money worries (35%) or war and conflict (32%)
  • Nearly two thirds (65%) of parents of children aged 9-15 aren't sure their children always tell them how they're feeling with regards to their mental health

More about Britain Get Talking:

Britain Get Talking is supported by Mind and YoungMinds, and by SAMH in Scotland, to encourage people to look after their mental health by connecting with others. Created with Uncommon Creative Studio, it originally launched in 2019 by pausing the live broadcast of Britain’s Got Talent, and then as lockdown beckoned, Ant and Dec invited the nation to send their messages of support for broadcast and to stay in touch with the message that we’re ‘apart, but never alone.’

Since its initial launch, research indicates that Britons have had 100 million new or more meaningful conversations as a result of the campaign, which has featured over 100 celebrities including the likes of Will.I.am, Gordan Ramsay, Emma Willis, Harry Redknapp and Anne-Marie.

About STV’s Social Impact:

As a broadcaster, streamer and producer, STV has a powerful platform that we are committed to using as a force for good. The positive social impact we make supports our viewers, our colleagues and partners and the communities we serve. You can read more about this here: STV | Social impact | STV (stvplc.tv)

Creative credits: 

Uncommon Creative Studio