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By Imogen Watson, Senior reporter

May 14, 2020 | 3 min read

Coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Month, the Ad Council has approached the issue of youth suicide with a star-studded music video, in a bid to help those who might be struggling during lockdown.

The ‘Whatever Gets You Talking’ campaign is in response to a recent Ad Council study that found more young people have reported feeling more negative emotions related to Covid-19 compared to older adults.

As the second leading cause of death among young people, it is estimated that for every youth suicide, there are 100-200 attempts. This issue is only bound to get worse, with young people trapped inside during the pandemic.

With most mental illness, while sharing issues feelings with others may feel difficult, it can be the first step to recovery.

To help people open up, ‘Whatever Gets You Talking’ shows the various ways young people can start and continue conversations about mental health with their friends – whether that be gif, emoji, call or text.

Directed by Kristian Mercado Figueroa, the film sees the rapper Akinyemi guide viewers through different ways they can reach out and start conversations with their friends. In the ad, conversation starters are brought to life, with digital stars Addison Rae, Avery Cyrus, Bryce Xavier, James Henry, The McFarlands, Meghan Trainor, Molly Burke, mxmtoon and brothers Zach Valentine and Pat Ramirez making cameo appearances.

The music video is part of a fully integrated campaign, which will be complemented by a suite of digital, social, radio and broadcast assets directing viewers to a new website. The website offers young people creative ways to reach out and stay connected with their friends during this difficult time, as well as tips and guidance on managing their own emotional wellbeing.

“For many young people struggling with mental health issues, the fears and challenges resulting from Covid-19 have amplified what they’re going through,” explained Heidi Arthur, chief campaign development officer at the Ad Council.

“The new creative, brimming with energy and positivity, will provide our audience with support and give them access to tips and resources during this particularly difficult time.”

Finding real purpose amid the global pandemic, the Ad Council has been hard at work on its ongoing national Covid-19 response efforts.

Partnering with the Ad Council, Comedy Central and ViacomCBS’ Entertainment & Youth Brands, it launched a website focused on addressing the effects of isolation on mental health. The online hub offers actionable resources to help people 'Stay Calm', 'Stay Connected', and 'Stay Active while they 'Stay Home.'

Alongside that, it created a campaign to thank those on the front lines of the Covid-19 pandemic that featured an unreleased new song from Alicia Keys, titled 'Good Job.'

At the beginning of April it joined forces with Google, the ANA, and other advertising, media, and marketing trade associations, on an industry-wide movement that begged the American public to '#StayHome. Save Lives'.

The movement built on the success of #AloneTogether – a social distancing campaign created by MTV and the Entertainment & Youth Brands of ViacomCBS.

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