BGT took on a whole new meaning tonight as ITV 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 and YoungMinds (and SAMH in Scotland).

Britain Get Talking is the first stage of a five year commitment from ITV to promote mental wellness with the goal of getting 10 million people to take action to improve their mental or physical health by 2023.

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.”

In support of the campaign, a Britain Get Talking website is now live online – www. itv.com/BritainGetTalking and http://www.stv.tv/BritainGetTalking. Viewers will be signposted there for further information on the campaign and useful resources.

ITV worked with creative agency Uncommon Creative Studio to develop the campaign.

Carolyn McCall, ITV Chief Executive, said: “ITV brings people together for unmissable shared viewing moments. By disrupting one of our biggest shows this Saturday night, we want to reach a wide family audience and create the space to start a national conversation about mental wellness. At the heart of ITV’s social purpose strategy is this new five year commitment to help make mental wellness a priority in all our lives. We’ve worked with our long-term strategic partner, Mind, as well as YoungMinds to develop Britain Get Talking. The campaign highlights the importance of talking and listening in building mental wellness, ensuring we make looking after our mental health as much of a part of our daily lives and culture as our physical health.”

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, the mental health charity, said: “We are really pleased to be supporting ITV’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, ITV 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 ITV’s Campaign for Mental Wellness. For more information see itv.com/BritainGetTalking

For more information see:
http://www.itv.com/BritainGetTalking
http://www.youngminds.org.uk
http://www.samh.org.uk
http://www.uncommon.london
http://www.mind.org.uk