ITV Assigns 'Homework' to Help Boost Kids' Mental Health

Latest entry in network's lauded 'Britain Get Talking' campaign

Daily rituals can provide comfort and confidence, making difficult tasks more approachable and less threatening.

That dynamic drives fresh work from ITV and its sibling broadcaster STV. Dubbed "The Hardest Subject," it leverages the ritual of kids doing homework with parents or other trusted adults. The goal is to help address youth mental health issues in the U.K.

Launched ahead of World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10, the campaign includes a downloadable "homework assignment" that encourages young people to open up about their feelings and concerns.

ITV | The Hardest Subject

"There's a natural inclination for parents to want to shield their children from bad news or scary headlines, but we know that children are already discussing—and worrying about—these issues with their peers," says Lucy Jameson, co-founder of Uncommon Creative Studio. "Whether it's the cost of living, the pressures of social media or the threat of climate change, it can be challenging for children—and their parents—to share their feelings with one another, which is why this campaign and the homework 'task' is so important."

ITV and Uncommon teamed up with charities Mind, YoungMinds and the Scottish Association for Mental Health to develop the approach, and consulted with experts to fine-tune each component. The work falls under the "Britain Get Talking" banner. That lauded public-service initiative debuted four years ago.

This latest push follows a somewhat similar effort from a few months back that focused on stress around exams. "The Hardest Subject" strives to be all-encompassing. And that's important, its creators say, as student mental health across the U.K. has declined 40 percent over recent years.

"Simply asking a child what’s on their mind can be key to them opening up and easing their worries," says Susie Braun, ITV's social purpose director. "And this is homework for the adults too, so kids can finally get their own back!"

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