Creative in association withGear Seven

Celebrities Lose Their Voice On Social Media to Promote Mental Health Charity Sane

Advertising Agency
London, UK
Sane's campaign by Iris Worldwide stars Stephen Fry, Ruby Wax and encourages those struggling with depression to call for help

Today an integrated campaign for mental health helpline charity launches, which will run across film (online and cinema), OOH and social, created pro-bono by Iris. 

The film portrays a man being silenced by an unidentified intruder who covers his mouth as he struggles to answer the phone.

The intruder is a metaphor for the man’s depression, who wants to stop him talking. The film ends with the line: “Your depression doesn’t want you to talk. But we do”. 

The social media campaign #LetMeTalk will see celebrities including Stephen Fry and Ruby Wax participate in a mass ‘day of silence’ on Twitter, with only the typing icon posted that day. After 24 hours the reason for their silence is revealed. On Instagram influencers will post images of themselves with a stranger’s hand across their face. The campaign film is subsequently shared with followers.

The nature of depression can discourage people from talking about their illness, cutting them off from help. Yet research shows 69% of helpline callers found that talking to someone enabled them to cope better and feel supported, less anxious, and more in control[1]. Through this campaign SANE is encouraging more people to get in touch.

James Arthur a SANE Ambassador, praises the campaign: “People with depression tend to stay quiet about their condition. They shy away from sharing their struggles with colleagues, loved ones and friends yet it’s a proven fact that talking about your depression is often the way to defeat it”.

The campaign was created by advertising agency Iris, with the film shot by up-and-coming director Youness Benali through production company Sweetshop. The stills were shot by the award winning British photographer Rankin.

Marjorie Wallace, Founder and Chief Executive, says: “You don’t have to struggle with depression; there are medical and psychological therapies which are effective and can transform a person’s life. Many of the people who contact us are reaching out for the first time and no longer feel afraid and alone.”

Rankin says “Talking about mental health is an important step towards addressing problems, yet often it is the hardest thing for those suffering to do. I hope those in need are able to connect with these images and with this campaign, and are able to reach out for the help available to them”.

Youness Benali, Director at Sweetshop, said, “The subject matter is really something that I’ve experienced throughout my life, both within myself but also with other family members, so to say that this project is a passion project for me is an understatement. This script gave me the opportunity to create a powerful film. A film that is visually striking but also emotionally gripping. A film that both educates our viewers and inspires and directs them towards the help that they or the people in their lives who battles depression so desperately need.”


Hanna Stanbridge, 32, suffered from depression and anorexia since 2009, after much deliberation and trepidation she called SANEline to talk about her problems. The helpline volunteers provided the space and time Hanna needed to talk about her mental health, and the guidance given helped her hold hope and move forward.

“I am honoured to be supported by SANE. Back when I was at my lowest and with no one else who I trusted or felt I could be completely honest about my ‘crazy’ thoughts I called SANE. The first time, I simply cried down the phone then hung up. But SANE’s incredible staff were always there; no matter what I said and did. And always knew what to say or to just listen; whatever I needed.”

Hanna has gone on to achieve much success as an actress, and now lives in LA pursuing her career. She performed a solo comedy show at the Edinburgh Fringe poking fun at her struggle with depression, played Angel Delaney in BBC’s drama River City and won a Scottish BAFTA for her first feature film, Outcast.

“I want to make people talk openly about mental health but also realise there is help available from important organisations like SANE: no one should have to suffer alone.”

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