BOSTON: Neale-May & Partners has been hired to help secure
corporate sponsorship for a Harvard Medical School program geared toward
preventing school violence.
The Center for Mental Health and Media, affiliated with the medical
school, is launching a program called SOS - Save Our Students. Aimed at
middle and high schools, the curriculum targets educators, students, and
parents to help increase communication about teenage depression and
"It is somewhat educational, but we are also trying to change a bit of
the culture within schools," said Lawrence Kutner, PhD, who heads up the
Center. "Is this going to cure the whole problem? Of course it won't.
Can we save lives? We hope so."
Actor Matt Damon has already been tapped to promote the program, and
Neale-May is looking for an exclusive sponsor willing to post six
figures toward the project. Don Scott, the agency's SVP and GM in New
York, declined to be more specific about the monetary figure needed to
run the program.
Shared sponsorship among corporations will also be considered.
"We are reaching out to corporate leaders that we think are
forward-thinking and are committed to helping America become a better
place," Scott said.
The Center itself was founded to combine knowledge of mental and public
health with multimedia communication. Its board of directors includes
CBS correspondent Mike Wallace.
SOS will reflect the multimedia approach, employing a Web site, printed
materials, and video programs to send to schools.
Kutner also hopes to set up a national news feed and a supervised chat
room for teens. "One thing that happens when kids feel depressed is they
feel they are all alone," he said. "They need a venue for talking to
The program is currently in development, with production slated to start
in the fall for a spring rollout.