Behavioural science informs agency's mental-health campaign for NHS

NHS South East London Clinical Commissioning Group has launched a summer campaign, driven by behavioural insights, to tell people about the mental-health resources on offer during the pandemic.

The agency used behavioural science to identify the key messages for the campaign's different audiences
The agency used behavioural science to identify the key messages for the campaign's different audiences

The ‘Free your mind’ campaign, devised by Lynn PR, uses the slogan ‘Can you spot signs of mental ill-health?’

Basis for the campaign

The CCG was aware that residents’ mental health has been adversely affected by the lockdown during the pandemic.

It had a range of information on offer but take-up was low, so it asked the agency to launch a ‘platform awareness campaign’ to promote the mental health and wellbeing resources available to people living in south east London.

Behavioural science

Lynn PR developed the campaign by using behavioural science techniques to understand messages that would resonate with the different segmented audiences.

It also gathered research via consultation sessions with six London councils, including Bexley and Greenwich, as well as youth-focused digital mental-health website Kooth.

Key messages

To devise its key messages, the agency looked at the problem through the lens of behavioural science and created themes such as understanding the difference between good and poor mental health, the importance of asking for help early, and identifying trusted people to discuss their mental health with.

As part of this research, it became apparent to the agency that it would also have to educate its audience’s support network of friends, family and even teachers about the importance of listening.

The campaign’s key messages include: ‘Don’t ignore your mental health’ and ‘Talking is important. So is listening’.


The primary audience for the campaign is those who are either affected or potentially affected by mental ill-health, including young people aged 11-19 and vulnerable people in the 20-25 age demographic.

In addition to people aged 25-65+, the campaign is targeting people from BAME communities, as well as the support networks of all audiences.

The secondary audience for the campaign was GPs, other healthcare professionals and influencers.


The campaign, which launched on Monday (22 June) with a dedicated microsite, is running on social and digital channels because it is easier to propagate the link to the site that way than through traditional media.

For the 11-19 audience, the chosen channels were Instagram Stories, TikTok, Facebook parents' groups and communications from schools and universities.

For 20- to 25-year-olds, the campaign is using email addresses from the NHS database, Facebook, comms from further education settings and partner amplification from charities such as MIND and Crisis.

BAME communities are being targeted via Facebook as well as councils and charities.

Lynn PR used traditional media relations for the campaign launch and spent nearly one-third of its overall campaign budget on paid-for advertising to ensure a better-targeted and segmented campaign – with the right message reaching the right audience at the crucial moment.

Campaign objectives

The objective of the campaign, which ends on 22 August, is to reach more than two million south east London residents and achieve an engagement rate of 1.05 per cent.

It aims to drive at least 17,000 visits to the campaign microsite and increase views and take-up of digital resources on mental health.

Within this target, the agency said it was looking for up to 1,000 website goal completions, a five per cent conversion rate, and a 50 per cent increase in new registrations to Kooth, including more BAME registrations.

During a two-week test phase of the campaign, Lynn PR set the target of nearly 1,200 click-throughs to the new microsite and engagement of 1.05 per cent.

In fact, it achieved more than 3,000 click-throughs and engagement of 2.4 per cent, more than double what was envisaged.

Russell Cartwright, head of comms and engagement (Lewisham) for NHS South East London CCG, said the campaign was timely for residents living with lockdown and that he had learned the value of behavioural science from the agency.

He added: “[The campaign] aims to catch people’s attention and give them a nudge to take action to look after their mental health and wellbeing, signposting to a range of resources and services. I am really pleased with how the campaign has developed, and the results from the testing have been brilliant.”

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