"One of the goals with the campaign is to make sure that we provide information and support and resources to teenagers who may be experiencing mental health problems and…thoughts of suicide," said Kathryn Power, director of the Center for Mental Health Services at SAMHSA. ReachOut.com, with the theme of "We Can Help Us," focuses on connecting teenagers with other teenagers who have also dealt with similar issues or struggles.
"We did a lot of market research about where this group would go to find information," Power said. "And most of the field tests told us they would reach out to other people their age, that they would spend time browsing video and audio and stories about people who were their age, and they would be interested in other teenagers who themselves have confronted an issue or problem and have successfully navigated through a tough issue."
The Ad Council took the lead on the PR around the campaign and is on social networks like YouTube, and is using several Facebook and Twitter accounts. It also worked with organizations like Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) to reach the teenage community.
"We wanted to get as much national exposure as we could," said Heidi Arthur, SVP of campaign management for the Ad Council, which worked on an exclusive with USA Today on the campaign. "We did a multimedia news release that got tremendous pick-up. We also relied on partner organizations to help get the word out."
The mental health community has also supported the campaign, as SAMHSA presented it at a conference in March in Las Vegas. Blogs in the mental health community, and those writing about advertising, have also covered the campaign.
Traditional media relations included outreach to advertising trades and the general news media, which was also covering a high-profile bullying suicide case in Massachusetts.
"We can prevent suicide," Power said, "and the ways in which we can prevent it is to continuously build awareness, build understanding, educate the public—in this case, the teenagers—and really bring a message of hope."