Best-selling author Ruby Wax, a vocal campaigner about mental health issues

A host of guest celebrity continuity announcers, including Mind charity’s President Stephen Fry, will take over Channel 4’s airwaves to mark Mental Health Awareness Week (8-12 May 2017). High profile figures joining Stephen Fry in the Channel 4 continuity announcer takeover include Mind ambassadors Ruby Wax and mental health campaigner Alastair Campbell, along with former football manager Alan Pardew.

Stephen Fry will tell viewers : “As someone with bipolar disorder who has suffered especially from the shame and the silence and the lack of communication that my own unwillingness to come forward about my own condition led to, I know how important it is to talk.”

Channel 4’s Continuity Creative Managers partnered with Mind, one of the leading mental health charity in England and Wales, to promote the week which aims to raise public awareness about mental health issues and encourage viewers to talk and seek help for their own mental health problems.

Channel 4’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Dan Brooke said : “Mental health impacts so many people’s lives, far more than we are prepared to admit, so it’s essential that we surface this iceberg of a taboo and talk about it in plain view.”

A host of other Mind ambassadors and celebrity supporters of the charity will join the week-long mic announcer take over. They include SB.TV founder Jamal Edwards MBE, Designated Survivor actor Natascha McElhone and former professional footballer Clarke Carlisle. They will tell their own personal stories or outline their support for Mental Health Awareness Week on Channel 4, E4 and More 4 and encourage viewers to join in the conversation on Twitter using #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.

“Mental health impacts so many people’s lives, far more than we are prepared to admit, so it’s essential that we surface this iceberg of a taboo and talk about it in plain view.”

Several other celebrities are also due to make special recordings to air on Channel 4 channels including Olympic superstar Dame Kelly Holmes, TV presenter Matt Johnson, Years and Years singer Olly Alexander, Nicole Barber Lane who plays Myra McQueen in Hollyoaks and Top Boy actor Nicholas Pinnock.

Mind’s Chief Executive Officer Paul Farmer said : “Mind’s own research* has shown that when celebrities speak out about their own mental health in the media it can play an important role in inspiring people to start a conversation about their own mental health, and can encourage them to seek help. We are therefore so grateful to Channel 4, and to our celebrity supporters, for getting behind the initiative and helping to raise vital awareness.”

The celebrities will be joined by other contributors such as former military man Steve Gardener, massive film and Watford fan JJ and artist/illustrator Loren Connor who will talk about issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety. The continuity takeover will run until Friday 12th May.

Mental Health Awareness Week is an annual campaign organised by the Mental Health Foundation. James Harris, Head of Media & Communications at the Mental Health Foundation said : “We all have mental health, and most of us in our lifetime are likely to experience a mental health problem. Alongside there being much more we need to do to support people living with mental ill-health, Mental Health Awareness Week provides an opportunity to reinforce that there are steps we can all take to understand, protect and sustain good mental health.”

* A Populus survey commissioned by Mind found that a quarter of respondents (24%) agreed that hearing accounts about mental health from people in the public eye helped them to feel less alone and one in five (21%) had started a conversation about mental health inspired by celebrity stories in the news. The poll was conducted by Populus, who interviewed UK adults online between 9th and 11th November 2016 with 2,038 respondents.

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