Mental Health UK and ITN Productions launch new programme, ‘Forward Together for Mental Health’

Mental Health UK and ITN Productions Industry News launch a new co-production ‘Forward Together for Mental Health’, exploring how the pandemic has advanced the mental health narrative and agenda in the workplace and wider society.

The pandemic and the resulting economic uncertainty have negatively affected many people’s mental health and elevated concerns for those already living with mental illness. Forward Together for Mental Health’ looks at the people and projects safeguarding emotional wellbeing across the UK and the necessary support in place to help those experiencing a mental health problem.

Anchored by ITN Productions presenter and reporter Marverine Cole, the programme follows a unique news-style format featuring key sector interviews, independent news items in collaboration with Mental Health UK and a series of inspirational sponsored profiles led by ITN Productions news reporters filmed on location and remotely.

Brian Dow, Chief Executive of Mental Health UK, joins Marverine to discuss the pandemic’s impact on mental health and how it is being addressed. Brian highlights the changing perceptions of mental health by the general public, employers and media and discusses how to deliver the right support for those affected.

In May 2020, as the Covid-19 crisis began to bite, Mental Health UK, with support from Johnson & Johnson, pioneered the Community Mental Health Navigator programme in Grimsby, helping ensure people had support with housing, felt in control over their finances and connected with the world around them.  Sue Saville leads a short film showing how the initiative is making a tangible difference to the community.

Johnson & Johnsons mission is to ensure that healthcare begins within the company. Reporter Donna Bernard leads a short film demonstrating how Johnson & Johnson are supporting their employees first, working to change both how they treat and perceive mental illness.

“Mental health is a vital national issue at the best of times, but it has become even more relevant as we’ve navigated the challenges of the pandemic. This is an important and timely opportunity to highlight what it means to live with a mental health problem, and it will present the case for support needed across the many aspects of our lives which influence our mental health, such as our relationships, our home, our employment and our finances. Through this programme, we hope to show that when this support is available in the community it can do a huge amount to support people affected by mental illness to have a better quality of life.”

– Brian Dow, Chief Executive, Mental Health UK

Poor sleep can have a devastating effect on our lives, impacting both our physical and mental health. Jon Gibson interviews Alison Gardiner, CEO of Sleepstation about the importance of sleep and how, as an online service, they are helping thousands of people worldwide to improve sleep and make it a priority.

In a film led by reporter Sue Saville, global energy company BPs Chief Executive Bernard Looney highlights how the company have implemented a mental health strategy focused on advancing the mental health agenda for both employees and communities to help employees manage stress levels and work pressures.

Having the right leadership and management in place is essential for job satisfaction and it is vital that managers receive the right training to gain the confidence needed to assist team members experiencing mental ill health. Nick Thatcher interviews Ripple&Cos founder Eileen Donnelly to learn more about how their comprehensive training methods and wellbeing strategies placing managers in simulating, real-life situations where they learn and try out their new skills and behaviours in a safe space.

Research by Bupa shows 80% of teenagers experienced poor mental health following periods of lockdown, leading to an increasing number of calls to their Family Mental Healthline from parents looking for vital support and advice. In the programme, reporter Nick Thatcher talks to Dr Robin Clark, Medical Director at Bupa, about recognising the warning signs in young people and when to seek medical help.

Young athletes are always encouraged to look after their physical health, but their mental health is often overlooked. ‘Your Resilience’ is a mental resilience programme designed by Mental Health UK working with the Rugby League World Cup 2021 team and Rugby League Cares to support 14-to-18 year-olds in elite sports pathways. Reporter Robin Ross leads a film exploring how the initiative has been introduced and received within rugby academies across the UK.

The funds raised through Mental Health UK’s partnership with Lloyds Banking Group in 2017 have allowed Mental Health UK to expand their Bloom programme initiative which equips children to be more resilient as they transition into adult life.  Carolyn Sim finds out how the Bloom programme, which is delivered through schools and colleges, recognises the growing need for support for young people, with most long-term mental health problems beginning in adolescence.

“We couldn’t be more proud to raise awareness and understanding of a topic that effects each and every one of us in some capacity. We hope the programme provides a platform to propel the mental health agenda, to ensure as a nation we are recognising and safeguarding mental health and placing compassion and emotional wellbeing at the forefront of endeavour.”

– Nina Harrison-Bell, Head of ITN Productions Industry News

The ability to share stories and experiences with like-minded people allows people to realise that they are not alone, no matter what they’re coping with. Reporter Julie Collier interviews Togetheralls CEE Henry Jones to learn more about how their online mental health support service with clinically managed online forums, journals and self-guided group and individual courses, is offering support for those struggling with their mental health.

New guidance from the Financial Conduct Authority, states that businesses must ensure fair outcomes and take on an additional duty of care for customers in vulnerable circumstances. VCX, founded in 2020 by Chris Jones and David Hoare, provides training for customer-facing employees to support vulnerable customers. VCX Co-founder Chris Jones explains how the company’s platform is prioritising customer needs and placing compassion at the forefront of business.

One of the cornerstones of good mental health and wellbeing is having a safe and secure place to call home. Sharon Thomas explores how VIVID a Hampshire-based housing association, are working hard to provide customers with a safe and secure home providing the fundamental foundations for wellbeing.

Forward Together for Mental Health launches at 6pm on World Mental Health Day (10 October 2021) as a live stream hosted exclusively on the Mental Health UK YouTube channel. The programme will be available to view on demand proceeding the launch on Mental Health UK’s website at

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