• Barbara Watson

It’s (still) good to talk

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and after the year we’ve just endured, Mind’s annual initiative to champion change, fairness, respect and support for mental health has never been more front of mind.

Their mission this year is to step up the fight for better mental health services. But the biggest fight is, still, getting people talking; destigmatising what it means to have poor mental health and normalising conversation around it.

Brands have a powerful role to play as conversation starters when it comes to the awareness and normalisation of mental health. ITV has been an active champion over the course of the pandemic with ‘Britain Get Talking’, a big hitting, multi-channel campaign that even got the Archbishop of Canterbury’s tongue wagging.

They have also avoided creative stagnation, keeping the topics timely and chat fresh. In ITV’s most recent execution the focus turned to the problems of connecting through tech, with Ant and Dec engaged in a joyless, typo riddled text skit with Mo Farah to highlight just how easy it is to hide our emotions behind emojis. If lockdown has taught us anything, it’s that WhatsApp is no replacement for a heart to heart.

Earlier this year Maltesers were celebrating the gift of the gab with the #massiveovershare – a socially driven campaign that focussed specifically on maternal mental health, encouraging mums to share more of the real stuff on social and talk about the highs and the lows of motherhood.

Whilst last month Dove, the grand dame of empathetic creative, turned their talk towards young women and low self-esteem with the visually striking Reverse Selfie. Shining an unflattering light on the impact that editing tools and filters can have on distorting women’s views of beauty and their connected self-worth, it got parents, teachers, influencers and impressionable young women all talking.

And with the news this week that the latest Hollywood golden couple, Harry and Oprah, will be streaming a docuseries on apple+ to facilitate honest conversations around mental health, it’s heartening to see that the fight for better mental health could finally be the talk of the town.