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Mental Health Awareness Week sees both WWF & The Children’s Society receive £1mn awards

Melanie May | 16 May 2024 | News

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This week’s Mental Health Awareness Week has seen two £1million awards announced – with WWF winning £1mn worth of advertising airtime from ITV, and BBC Children in Need awarding £1mn to The Children’s Society.

WWF wins inaugural ITV Head First award

WWF has won £1 million worth of advertising airtime through ITV’s inaugural Head First award: a new initiative that shines a spotlight on mental wellbeing. 

The Head First award builds on ITV’s Britain Get Talking campaign. Brands were asked to put mental health at the heart of a new campaign with those shortlisted pitching their ideas in person. The panel of judges chose WWF as their winner.  


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The charity is set to showcase a campaign that encourages everyone to get their daily dose of nature. The advert will detail how getting outside has a positive effect on wellbeing and mood, demonstrating that those connected to nature enhance their wellbeing as well as their sense of agency to support environmentally friendly actions.

ITV will also be match-funding the four runners up ­– Harry’s, Talk Club, Isuzu UK and Nando’s – up to £250,000 each in airtime, with the final campaigns due on air in Q4 2024.

The award was judged by experts in the advertising industry, including Chair Sheila Mitchell CBE, former Marketing Director for Public Health England, who commented:

“More than 70 UK brands, charity organisations and their agencies brought innovation and creativity to the critical issues of mental health and wellbeing. The judges therefore had a very hard task, as they were looking for a strong TV campaign supported by an extensive customer experience and a rigorous evidence base for the health intervention. Through this initiative ITV has brought a welcome focus to a wide range of mental health concerns.”

The Head First Award was devised by Rachel Compton, Head of Commercial Marketing, ITV, who said:

“This was a hotly contested final with so many evidence-based ideas all aiming to encourage the nation to take positive and preventive action towards better mental health. We couldn’t be more pleased to announce WWF as our first Head First award winner. This campaign builds on ITV’s impactful social purpose initiatives, putting mental wellbeing at the heart of what we do.”

Dr Alex (right) interviews The Children’s Society CEO Mark Russell

BBC Children in Need awards £1 million to The Children’s Society

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, BBC Children in Need, the Health Foundation and Impact on Urban Health have presented £1 million to The Children’s Society as the winners of the A Million & Me Award. Every pound donated by BBC Children in Need has also been matched by The Children’s Society, to a grand total of £2 million.

The Children’s Society, alongside partners MACS Supporting Children & Young People and Children 1st, will provide targeted and early intervention mental health support to young people all across the four nations. Focusing support particularly on young people from marginalised communities, The Children’s Society will use BBC Children in Need funding to magnify their impact by offering their services to children as young as eight.

Launched in October 2023, BBC Children in Need began a nationwide search for the A Million & Me award-holder, looking to spot innovators developing creative, scalable and tangible mental health solutions. This was the charity’s largest ever open call for a single grant, with proposals evaluated on their potential to contribute evidence towards the effectiveness of early intervention.

The Children’s Society will use the A Million & Me Award to provide face-to-face support for children, as well as the tools and resources necessary for parents and carers to start wellbeing-informed conversations around difficult topics. Additionally, the award will contribute towards the development of The Children’s Society’s digital presence and expand their current offerings of online sessions, digital mindfulness tools and an instantly accessible parent line.

The award was announced and presented to the charity by Dr Alex.

Mark Russell, CEO of The Children’s Society said,

“We are thrilled to win this fantastic £1 million award which will allow us to dramatically expand our mental health support services for children right across the UK. Far too many children are dealing with mental health challenges, often isolated and lacking the help they deserve. This funding is a game-changer that will turbo charge our efforts to reach more of those in need. This marks an exciting new chapter for us, and we can’t wait to get to work and provide children with the tools and care they need to build resilience and thrive.”