Rush of traffic crashes mental health website after TV ad fronted by royals

An advert featuring the Dukes and Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex to promote a new mental health campaign sparked such a surge in traffic it crashed its website.

The royal quartet narrated a short film launching the Every Mind Matters campaign – an initiative from Public Health England (PHE) and the NHS to empower people to manage the early symptoms of poor mental health.

Within minutes of the advert being broadcast, the Every Mind Matters website was down for a short period, believed to be due to the number of hits.

NHS Every Mind Matters campaign
The NHS Every Mind Matters website crashed following a nationally televised ad (PA)

A spokeswoman for PHE said: “We’re back up and running now. We think it was due to high [traffic].

“We had technicians working on it immediately and we’re back up and running now.”

The three-minute video, which also featured the likes of Gillian Anderson and Davina McCall, was screened on Monday.

Narrating the video, William begins: “Everyone knows that feeling, when life gets on top of us.

“All over the country, millions of us face challenges to our mental health – at all ages – at all intensities, and for all sorts of reasons.

“We feel stressed, low, anxious, or have trouble sleeping. Me, you…”

Harry continues: “…your brother, your mother, your colleague, or your neighbour. Waiting, wondering, hoping, hurting.

“We think there’s nothing to be done. Nothing we can do about it.”

Meghan then counters: “But that’s so wrong. There are things we can do. From today, there’s a new way to help turn things around. Every Mind Matters will show you simple ways to look after your mental health.”

Kate continues: “It’ll get you started with a free online plan designed to help you deal with stress, boost your mood, improve your sleep and feel more in control.”

The platform, which has been endorsed by the Royal College of GPs, will allow users to take a health quiz and offer them a personalised “mind plan” with practical tips around managing anxiety, low mood, sleep and stress.

Health officials hope it will empower people to practically manage their symptoms to stop their mental health escalating, which would in time reduce pressure on clinical services and free up capacity.

It comes as a new PHE survey of more than 3,000 adults in England found that 83% of respondents had experienced early signs of poor mental health in the last year including feeling anxious, stressed, having low mood or trouble sleeping.

Over a quarter of these waited longer than six months before taking action, with more than half reporting coping mechanisms including smoking, drinking or unhealthy eating and avoiding social situations.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the project harnesses the “power of modern technology to do good when we know it also can help contribute to some of these problems”.

Today marks the launch of a great campaign to help people take simple steps to look after their mental health, improve their mental wellbeing and support others. #EveryMindMatters@PHE_ukhttps://t.co/xDQ1c9LTVopic.twitter.com/6MkonDGzvT

— NHS England (@NHSEngland) October 7, 2019

NHS England’s national mental health director Claire Murdoch said the campaign “absolutely signals a sea change in awareness and attitudes to mental health”.

John Newton, director of Health Improvement at PHE, said the core target of the platform is people who are developing early symptoms of poor mental health, but that evidence has shown it can also help people with “quite severe mental illness”.

Extra content will be added to the site over time, including material on how to manage perinatal mental health and advice for parents on how to support their children.

For those without internet access, paper materials will be placed in places such as libraries, while GPs will be encouraged to direct patients towards the new resource.

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