Babel's Moving Film for French Ministry of Health Covid Campaign Tackles Mental Health Crisis

Babel's Moving Film for French Ministry of Health Covid Campaign Tackles Mental Health Crisis

Apr. 21, 2021

Speaking to a friend or a health professional is a positive first step towards relieving the mental challenges caused by Covid-19. This is the key message in En Parler, c’est déjà se soigner (Talking Makes It Better) a new campaign for Santé Publique France (SPF), the French Ministry of Health, directed by Vincent Rodella for Babel advertising agency. 

The film shows four scenes of daily life through the eyes of four ordinary individuals struggling to cope with the everyday: an elderly couple having a meal, a medical school student, a man who can’t sleep and a woman returning from grocery shopping. Their symptoms mimic the known physical characteristics of the virus, namely loss of appetite, lagging energy, sleep issues and panic attacks. The difference here being that their symptoms are caused by anxiety and depression rather than the actual virus.

A recent study by SPF (Coviprev, March 2021) has revealed that in the past year, there has been a deterioration in French mental health: 31% of people have experienced anxiety or depression compared with 23% last September. 

En Parler, c’est déjà se soigner treats the subject with appropriate empathy and sensitivity, without being mawkish or melodramatic.

Rodella explains:

“It was important the film touched as many people as possible. I owe it to those suffering from anxiety and depression to be as truthful as possible, to convince them that it’s OK to talk about how they feel.”


To feel better, the advice is to talk to someone: speaking to close family and friends or to a health professional is an important step to feeling better before the issues worsen and become difficult to treat. The free French public health service telephone and website are also offered in the film.

Rodella even composed the achingly simple soundtrack himself, a sprinkling of notes played on a ukulele.

He says:

“It was important to surprise by avoiding predictable orchestrations. Instead the music enhances the visual mood and brings a light melancholy.” 


The poignant message is clear: you don’t have to have Covid to feel unwell.

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