Harvard SOS gets Neale-May's help

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

potential violence.



"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

other people."



The program is currently in development, with production slated to start

in the fall for a spring rollout.



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