A leading mental health charity has launched a national campaign to encourage those struggling with depression to find their voice and call for help.

Celebrities including Stephen Fry and Alistair Campbell will step away from the social media today as part of mental health charity SANE’s #LetMeTalk campaign.

The nature of depression can discourage people from talking about their illness, cutting them off from help. Yet research shows 69 per cent of helpline callers found that talking to someone enabled them to cope better and feel supported, less anxious, and more in control.

The campaign features a film showing 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 campaign comes at a time when the role of charity helplines is critical. SANE claims that the NHS is turning away patients due to underfunding and spending cuts, and now relies on charities to provide the care they can’t.

Singer James Arthur, a SANE Ambassador, praised the campaign, saying:

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 poster for the campaign was shot by British fashion photographer Rankin.

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

32 year-old Hanna Stanbridge 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.

She says:

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.

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