Royal seal of approval for historic mental health campaign

The government's biggest campaign on mental health to date, backed by the Royal Family, was the victim of its own success last night after the campaign website crashed due to the sheer weight of demand.

Katie Piper, in a still from the 'Every Mind Matters' campaign film
Katie Piper, in a still from the 'Every Mind Matters' campaign film

'Every Mind Matters' – launched by Public Health England (PHE) in partnership with the NHS – is the first government-led national campaign to help prevent people from developing long-term mental-health problems.


New research, carried out by PHE and released yesterday, revealed that more than eight in 10 (83%) Britons have experienced symptoms of poor mental health in the past year.

The campaign, launched in the run-up to World Mental Health Day, this Thursday (10 October), aims to help one million members of the public to take simple, early steps to look after their own mental health, improve their mental wellbeing and support others.

Agencies involved in the campaign include Freuds, Wavemaker, 23red, M&C Saatchi, APS and Manning Gottlieb OMD.

An online tool has been developed that enables people to create a personalised action plan to take care of their own mental health.

Royal endorsement

The Duke and Duchess of Kent and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex provided the voiceover for a three-minute film, written by Richard Curtis and directed by Rankin, to mark the campaign launch.

The film, which was broadcast simultaneously across ITV, Sky channels, Channel 4 and Channel 5 last night, features a range of people whose lives have been affected by poor mental health, including Gillian Anderson, Davina McCall, Glenn Close, Freddie Flintoff, Professor Green and Nadiya Hussain, among other celebrities.

The campaign is backed by a coalition of mental health charities, including Mind and Samaritans, public-sector bodies such as the Royal College of General Practitioners, and companies ranging from Santander to Greggs.

Last night's broadcast prompted a surge in demand that temporarily crashed the campaign website.

Attitudinal change

Sheila Mitchell CBE, marketing director at Public Health England, said: "Tackling a huge challenge like changing the nation's behaviour around mental health demands a big marketing solution, and we are proud of the coalition of ambassadors, major brands, charities and employers we’ve secured to support us in addressing this critical issue."

And Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, commented: "Over the past few years there's been a profound sea change in public attitudes and awareness about mental health. So at the same time the NHS is expanding the availability of specialist mental-health support and treatment, people are increasingly interested in practical steps they can take themselves to prevent and manage common mental-health problems such as anxiety, stress and depression."

He added: "That's where 'Every Mind Matters' comes in, as a helpful complement to the work of NHS mental-health teams and services."

Precise targeting

The campaign will be promoted through national and regional PR activity, earned media, social media and other digital channels, together with VOD and media partnerships.

During the six-month campaign, which ends next March, digital targeting techniques will be used to reach audiences at the right time – for example, by responding to explicit signals on digital platforms, such as search behaviour, which indicate that users are in need of help with their mental health.

Content about troubled sleep will be targeted at people who are online at night, while messaging focused on stress will be aimed at those on their daily commutes.

Impressive start

Yesterday's launch was an unqualified success, with more than 4,500 social media posts resulting in an estimated online reach of 8.8m and approximately 76.8m impressions. It has achieved widespread media coverage, with more than 900 pieces of coverage to date.

Although the campaign is aimed at the general population, it will also focus on specific demographics that are more at risk of experiencing poor mental health, such as lower socioeconomic groups, people with long-term health conditions, BAME groups and those who are unemployed.

Evaluation

The campaign's success will be measured through analysis of the number of people visiting the 'Every Mind Matters' website and getting a personalised action plan.

In addition, the Department of Health and Social Care has commissioned an independent research evaluation, which will be undertaken by the National Institute for Health Research’s Mental Health Policy Research Unit.


 


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