New research from Mind has revealed that more than half (52%) of people who have seen a storyline involving a character with mental health problems has helped to improve their understanding of mental health problems, with almost a third being encouraged to seek help or support after reading a news story.

Credit: BBC

Credit: BBC

2,063 adults from the UK took place in the polling, which also found 25% of those questioned were prompted to find help personally after seeing a storyline on television involving a character with their own mental health problems and struggles.

Men were much more likely to be moved in this way, with more than a third (37%) being encouraged to seek help or support after seeing the storylines, compared to 15% of women.

Chief Executive of Mind, Paul Farmer comments: "These statistics show just how powerful all forms of media can be in encouraging people to go and see their GP, call a helpline or just get in touch with a friend or family member with a mental health problem. Media portrayals and reporting, when done well, can be a lifeline. Drama storylines in particular can help people who might be struggling to feel less alone and they play a vital role in signposting to the help and support that is available.

"It's fantastic that we are seeing more media coverage which offers a sensitive, compelling and realistic representation of mental health. We urge journalists and programme-makers to continue this welcome trend of showing people with mental health problems as a whole and giving a platform to more people to speak out about their experiences.

"We're looking forward to receiving strong entries to this year's Mind Media Awards to showcase the great work we have seen in the media over the last year which not only challenges and changes attitudes towards mental health, but also saves lives."

Maisie Williams, who appeared in award-winning drama Cyberbully last year (2015) added:

"Shows like Cyberbully can really help young people to build up the courage to ask for help or to accept that what is going on in the classroom or online isn't acceptable. I feel like it inspires young people to pick up the phone or talk to a parent or just get help.

"After Cyberbully was aired in the UK, we had the anti-bullying line on afterwards and they had a massive influx in calls from kids and teenagers who had been too frightened to speak out and try and stop whatever is happening and I feel like it gave them the confidence to do that.

"In Casey's situation (Maisie's character in Cyberbully) after her friends and family found out about her mental health issues and struggles online they didn't judge her. They accepted it and they were very forgiving and very helpful. And I think seeing that, for someone who may be going through something similar, would hopefully be uplifting. No one is going to judge you, there are people out there who want to help you. I hope that is the message people get from a series like Cyberbully."

The Mind Media Awards 2016 winners will be announced at a celebratory event on Monday, November 14 at the Troxy, bringing celebrities, media professionals and those who have shared their personal experiences through the media together.

Below, see Game of Thrones actor Maisie Williams talk more about why the Mind Media Awards are so important:

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