Mental health has rightly become an important topic in the media, and for the last three years we have championed it by leading a very special moment across UK radio.
Since 2018, the Mental Health Minute has brought together commercial radio, BBC stations and community radio to broadcast a unique, one-minute message on the importance of talking about mental health issues, reaching out, and listening to each other.
The historic first broadcast, at 10:59am on Tuesday 15th May 2018, included Their Royal Highnesses The Duke of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex, along with pop icon Lady Gaga, actress Dame Judi Dench, actor David Harewood and Olympian athlete Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill. The minute was broadcast on over 400 radio stations, reaching 20 million people.
Since then, each Mental Health Minute has taken place during Mental Health Awareness Week, with more and more stations taking part each year – including BBC Radio 4 for the first time in 2020. Famous voices have come together to share an important message to let everyone know that whoever you are, however you’re feeling and whatever you’re going through, it’s okay to talk about it.
2019’s broadcast featured His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge with pop star Katy Perry, comedian, actor and writer Stephen Fry, actress and activist Jameela Jamil, and singer and television personality Alesha Dixon. 2020’s edition, which focused on how people can support each other during the Covid-19 crisis, saw The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined by England captain Harry Kane, singer-songwriter Dua Lipa, actor David Tennant and two-time heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
The moment unites stations all over the UK from national networks such as those run by Global, Bauer, to smaller local stations and community stations, together with BBC stations including Radio 1, Radio 2, and 5 Live. It broadcasts to one of radio’s biggest collective audiences, with an average listenership of more than 20 million, and last year was recognised with the special Gold Award at the Audio Production Awards, marking the first time in the APAs’ 10-year history that it has been awarded to an initiative instead of one person. It has also twice topped its category at the New York Festivals Radio Awards.
The Mental Health Minute is overseen by Radiocentre with The Royal Foundation’s Heads Together initiative. It has been produced by agencies Somethin’ Else (2018 and 2020) and TBI Media (2019).
In addition to the Mental Health Minute, this year saw us team up again with Heads Together to launch 60 Second Support, a series to support listeners’ mental wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic.