Ad campaign aims to raise awareness of the impact of the pandemic on NHS staff

The new ad, directed by George Hackforth-Jones for the charity Duty To Care, which provides mental health and wellbeing support to NHS workers, intends to remind people that ‘even superheroes need saving’

While the pandemic has affected everyone in society in a myriad of ways, it is clear that some sectors of the workforce have been more directly impacted than others, with NHS workers at the top of the list.

We may have clapped for the carers and dubbed them superheroes, but, as this ad highlights, after over a year dealing directly with the ill and dying in the pandemic, they may be in dire need of more support themselves.

The charity Duty To Care was set up last March by a doctor’s wife and aims to provide immediate, free support to NHS workers struggling due to high pressure at work via online sessions with psychotherapists, CBT therapists, yoga, mindfulness, meditation, nutrition experts and personal trainers.

To help raise awareness of the charity for those seeking support, as well as encourage donations, George Hackforth-Jones (who is a creative at ad agency AMV BBDO as well as a director) has created this film, which he hopes will highlight what NHS staff have experienced in the pandemic.

The film was created independently by a small team of volunteers, and Hackforth-Jones worked with NHS staff and a DTC therapist to craft an authentic representation of a nurse’s experience over the last year.

While the film features actor Lucy Scott-Smith as the nurse, it is based on real NHS workers’ experiences and the voiceover is made up entirely of anonymous verbatims taken from actual therapy sessions.

“One of the things we wanted to address in the film was the idea surrounding NHS workers being superheroes,” says Hackforth-Jones. “This is language that’s been around from the early days of the pandemic and while it comes from a good place, it can put unrealistic expectations on these people. To a certain extent it can also make the public think these carers are immune to the real emotional effects this work has. We wanted to show that while the job they do is superhuman, they are at the end of the day just ordinary people, having to cope with extraordinary circumstances.”

Writer/Director: George Hackforth-Jones
DOP: Chris Clarke
Editor: Quin Williams
Music by Deborah Williams