Radiocentre launches initiative to support audience mental health during pandemic

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A new mental health radio series, 60 Second Support, will take over the airwaves from today (Monday 27 April), helping millions of people across the UK to deal with issues such as isolation, bereavement, conflict and self-care during the coronavirus crisis.

Hear the series and find out more here.

Radiocentre will be making the series available to all commercial and community stations. The industry body has partnered with The Royal Foundation’s Heads Together campaign for the special initiative, which will bring together the expertise of 10 mental health charities: The Anna Freud Centre; Best Beginnings; CALM; Place2Be; The Mix; Mind; Shout, YoungMinds; and both Combat Stress and Help for Heroes as part of the Contact collaboration. Heads Together is a campaign run by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, which works with these leading mental health charities in the UK to change the conversation on mental health.

Produced by Audio Always and Somethin’ Else, 60 Second Support has been funded via the special rolling coronavirus support round of the Audio Content Fund, a scheme to provide funding for the creation of original radio and audio production in the UK. The fund is part of a pilot Contestable Fund, financed by the UK Government, to support the provision and plurality of public service content.

Radio stations involved will be provided with a ready-made version, featuring multi-Platinum artist Professor Green, and a toolkit version, allowing them to record parts of the segments with presenters or station voices. Professor Green is patron of suicide prevention charity CALM, and has been a longstanding supporter of the Heads Together campaign.

Every day, a new episode in the series will be given to stations in the UK. The series will feature a variety of doctors, psychologists and other medical professionals, as well as well-known authors and mental health advocates. The first segment to air later today will feature presenter and philanthropist Katie Piper on the importance of reaching out and starting conversations about mental health, even when we can’t be with our loved ones in person.

In total, 20 segments will air over the next four weeks. Any stations keen to get involved should contact: stuart.morgan@audioalways.com. Already on board for the first broadcast are Hits Radio, Greatest Hits, Capital South Wales, KMFM and more.

Siobhan Kenny, Radiocentre CEO, said: “Whether they’re listening to hear the latest news, or be reassured by the familiar voices of their favourite presenters, we wanted to offer our listeners another way to help during these strange times. We hope they find 60 Second Support a useful source of self-care and comfort over the next few months.”

Jason Knauf, Chief Executive of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has led to fundamental and rapid changes to our daily lives, many of which will have both short and long-term implications on the nation’s mental health. Thousands of families are also coping with grief and trauma in incredibly difficult circumstances. The Royal Foundation is working to encourage all of us to speak about our mental health and to promote the importance of keeping mentally fit. That is why we are delighted to be working with Radiocentre on the 60 Second Support series, bringing these supportive moments to the airwaves and offering expert advice and ideas to anyone who may need them.”

Professor Green said: “I am so happy to be a part of 60 Second Support. As a patron of CALM, I’m really proud that mental health charities can offer advice to radio audiences across the UK in these challenging times. It’s a great initiative and I can’t wait for you all to hear it on the radio.”

Katie Piper said: “I am delighted to be contributing to 60 Second Support. This is a difficult time for many, and it means a lot to me personally to help in even just a small way.”

John Whittingdale, Minister for Media and Data, said: “Radio is at the heart of our rich media landscape and can play a vital role in sharing tips to help people improve their physical and mental wellbeing during the lockdown. Through its Audio Content Fund, the Government is backing 60 Second Support which is a fantastic contribution by the radio industry and charities as part of the national effort to help people through this crisis.”

The 60 Second Support series is in addition to the radio industry’s annual Mental Health Minute, which will be returning in May.

For more tips and advice or information on support services, visit www.headstogether.org.uk

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