3 of the best mental health PR campaigns

Mental health has been a topical issue for many years now, but the conversation has widened since the pandemic. March 2020 came as a surprise to us, and our whole world changed. People could not go outside, go to work, or converse with colleagues. All the things that may help a person get by. It saw the world ‘locked down’, and mental health on the rise.

Since 2020 we have seen many great campaigns that raise awareness of mental health issues and advocate against social stigma. As brands begin to recognise that purpose-driven campaigns are key to engaging consumers, many are creating impactful campaigns.

To celebrate opening up about our mental health struggles, we have taken a look at three of the best mental health PR campaigns over the last few years.

#LightenTheLoad

You may recognise JanSport for their trusty bags. Having been around for years they are a staple piece, especially for school children. Back in 2020, they launched a mental health awareness campaign called ‘Lighten the Load’.

In the summer of 2020, Young Minds, a mental health charity focused on the younger generation, produced a report stating that 80% of respondents agreed that the coronavirus pandemic had made their mental health worse. 

41% also said the pandemic had made their mental health “much worse”. In January 2021, another Young Minds survey announced that 67% believed that the pandemic will have a long-term negative effect on their mental health.

The campaign saw therapists teaming up with influencers to go live on Jansport’s Instagram page, allowing followers to join in on various discussions surrounding mental health. A small group of ‘Gen Z’s’ also shared their mental health journey through short videos, and gave advice 0n how to ‘Lighten The Load’.

The hashtag #LightenTheLoad now boasts 14k posts on Instagram, showing the campaign’s message was well received on social media.

Help!

I think we are all familiar with ‘Help!’ by The Beatles. Well, thanks to the NHS, Sony Music and Apple have kindly donated the lyrics to their new campaign named after the classic song written by John Lennon.

In January of this year, the NHS harnessed the popularity of the hit song ‘Help!’ and gathered some big names within the music industry such as The Wanted’s Max George, Craig David, Nicola Roberts, Tom Grennan, Laura Mvula and Ella Henderson. Each celebrity speaks a different line from the song, encouraging viewers to get help, just like they have in the past.

Research released ahead of the campaign’s release revealed that 2.3 million people have come forward for NHS talking therapies since the pandemic, with hope that this figure will increase with the roll out of the campaign.

Such big names advocating for the campaign resulted in blanket coverage across the UK and widespread conversation on social media.

 

The Last Photo

In the final week of June, CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) launched a heart-breaking exhibition at Southbank Riverside Central, facing people with the harrowing actuality of suicide. Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) offers help and advice to anyone struggling to cope, including the grieving families of suicide victims.

The installation ‘The Last Photo’ showcased 50 6-foot high photos showing smiling people. 

This was the last photo taken of them before they took their own lives. 

CALM presented the images in this way, alongside their names and ages to change how people perceive suicide. The aim was to show that just because someone appears happy, doesn’t mean they are not fighting their own demons.

The exhibition was accompanied by a 90-second TV commercial, which launched on ITV’s This Morning. The ad showed home videos of ‘happy’ people, going about their day to day lives and appearing happy. Before revealing that they soon took their own lives shortly after. Shirley Ballas, former Strictly Come Dancing Judge spoke on This Morning about losing her brother to suicide and her connection to the campaign.

‘The Last Photo’ won the Thinkbox Award for TV Creativity for May-June and gained nation-wide coverage.

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