Ant and Dec interrupted Britain’s Got Talent last night to launch a mental health campaign backed by a host of ITV’s top stars.
Dermot O’Leary, Gordon Ramsay, Gino D’Acampo, Phillip Schofield, Holly Willoughby, Jonathan Ross, Myleene Klass and Amanda Holden are among those supporting the five-year programme, which aims to improve the mental or physical health of some 10 million people.
The Britain Get Talking campaign is also backed by mental health charities Mind and YoungMinds, and SAMH in Scotland.
In a surprise twist, Declan Donnelly halted proceedings during last night’s episode of BGT before inviting viewers to forget the competing acts for a moment.
Judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams watched as a short video aired showing backstage crew holding up cards that read: “Use our silence to talk to each other.”
Donnelly said: “In the last 15 years there has been a staggering 48% rise in anxiety and depression among British children. But something as simple as talking together and listening to each other can build our mental wellness.”
Ant McPartlin added: “It’s so important for our mental wellbeing to remember to get together with people we care about and talk.”
Over the next month ITV will air advertisements featuring some of its best-known stars, who will use silence to encourage those at home to talk to one another.
ITV chief Carolyn McCall said: “By disrupting one of our biggest shows, we want to reach a wide family audience and create the space to start a national conversation about mental wellness..”
Mind’s chief executive Paul Farmer said: “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 to prevent mental health problems developing in the first place.”