Social media builds awareness of mental health screenings

NEW YORK: A national public health organization is using a social media campaign to raise awareness and encourage parents to ask about mental health screenings for their teenage children.

NEW YORK: A national public health organization is using a social media campaign to raise awareness and encourage parents to ask about mental health screenings for their teenage children.

TeenScreen National Center for Mental Health Checkups at Columbia University worked with Washington Media Group to relaunch its website and blog, and introduce profiles on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Susan Craig, director of communications for TeenScreen, said, "We realized that the way to get a groundswell of excitement about an idea would be to meet people where they are having discussions and where they are learning about healthcare, which is online." The campaign has several target audiences, including parents and families, and primary care physicians and others working in mental health.

"Our primary goal is to really educate folks about the primary care availability of [mental health] screenings," Craig added.

John Leary, EVP and partner at Washington Media Group, said the agency provided online strategy, helped with the site's redesign, and leveraged the social media networks.

"The goal is to have mental health checkups become as routine as eye exams or physicals when someone signs up to play sports," he said.

TeenScreen, which will now oversee the social media elements with its director of digital communications internally, also worked with Rabin Strategic Partners, which provided strategic support. The organization did traditional media outreach as well.

"We're targeting national media outlets, and we're also targeting specific areas where we have programs," Craig said, including regions where there is a high suicide rate.

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