My agenda: Sarah Cohen

Changing public attitudes towards mental health.

Cohen: "Ultimately, I’d like to see one of our Top Tips cards in everyone's wallet"
Cohen: "Ultimately, I’d like to see one of our Top Tips cards in everyone's wallet"

Time to Change is a programme run jointly by Mind and Rethink, aimed at altering public attitudes towards mental health. We are in our fifth year of operation, and this year our strategy is to encourage people to be less afraid of talking about mental health, especially with friends and family who may be experiencing a mental health problem.

Our TV ad campaign, which ran throughout January and February, featured real people who had supported others talking about the small things you can do to start a conversation. We backed this up with radio advertising and supported this through PR and social media work, again centred around our real-life ambassadors.

We have also done some interesting work with magazine publisher IPC. It published 'Edvertorials' - basically, paid-for editorial pieces in titles such as Rugby World, Marie Claire and Cycling Weekly, encouraging readers to question their own attitudes to the one in four people who have a mental health problem.

We focus our marketing activity each year in two bursts during January and August. So spring and early summer is about analysing the results of the first phase, working out which channels and creative work the best so that we can adapt it for the August push. Traditionally, the combination of TV and radio is a good one for us, but I'm hopeful we can build more of a press element into that.

I'd also like us to improve our SEO - that's a new area for us. We are also concentrating on making sure our marketing is effective; the Institute of Psychiatry uses surveys to analyse each of our programmes to see how they influence public opinion.

We have built a few elements into our current campaign that we can measure directly - the downloadable Top Tips wallet card, for example, which gives people some ideas about how to start conversations with people experiencing a mental health problem.

We also invite people to sign the Pledge Wall on our website and show how they are going to initiate dialogues. We collected 3,644 messages in two weeks after the campaign began, and we'll continue to monitor these.

I'm quite ambitious for our campaigning; ultimately, I'd like to see one of our Top Tips cards in everyone's wallet. We'll continue looking at how we can achieve that.

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