Can high-profile figures make the difference when it comes to mental health?
Those in the public eye are in the unique position of being able to highlight a range of causes and topics. When it comes to mental health, research shows that by speaking out, they may help many people.
Lots of well-known faces have documented their mental health struggles, sharing their experiences and casting light on a topic that remains hushed in many sections of society.
Research shows that accounts from prominent public figures do have the potential to make the difference.
A recent Populus survey conducted on behalf of Mind, one of the leading mental health charities in England and Wales, found that many people benefit from hearing about high-profile figures’ experiences when it comes to mental health.
A quarter of respondents (24%) agreed that hearing accounts about mental health from people in the public eye helped them to feel less alone.
One in five (21%) said they had started a conversation about mental health inspired by celebrity stories in the news.
Getting the conversation started
Mental Health Awareness Week has the backing of many famous names to help promote the cause and start these important conversations.
In 2017, public figures, including Mind’s President Stephen Fry, took over Channel 4 continuity announcements throughout the week as part of a partnership between Channel 4’s Continuity Creative Managers and Mind.
Other figures including Mind ambassador Ruby Wax, mental health campaigner Alastair Campbell and former football manager Alan Pardew also participated in the continuity announcement takeover.
Thriving or surviving?
Good mental health is more than the absence of a mental health problem. The week’s theme of ‘Thriving or Surviving’ focused on uncovering why too few of us are thriving with good mental health.
Research has already shown that those in the public eye have the potential to help people feel less alone and start conversations. With the backing of famous figures, it is hoped the week can help people think more about thriving or surviving, and what it means for their mental health.
The aim is to raise public awareness about mental health issues, and encourage people to talk and seek help for their own mental health problems.
Populus research sheds light on public views that matter to society. Our work with charities helps them to identify and communicate with their most important audiences; demonstrate impact; and tailor services.
The poll was conducted by Populus, who interviewed UK adults online between 9th and 11th November 2016 with 2,038 respondents.