Mental health body hires B-M for metabolism work

LONDON/VIRGINIA: The US-based World Federation for Mental Health has brought in agency backing for a major global awareness push targeting doctors and patients.

Burson-Marsteller's London office will handle a campaign to highlight how mental health problems can cause metabolic syndrome and to encourage doctors and psychiatrists to treat the problems together.
Metabolic syndrome – a collection of health risks that increase the chance of developing heart disease, stroke and impaired glucose tolerance – is more likely to afflict people with mental illness.

The campaign is aiming to enable health professionals and patients to diagnose the condition accurately. The programme will run until the first quarter of next year.

B-M joint managing director of UK healthcare Richard Rockliffe said: 'The programme could involve publication of a study within a US medical journal.'

B-M is to create reference sheets and 'core materials', including press releases and leaflets for use by healthcare professionals across the globe. The literature will be produced in four languages – English, Spanish, German and French – but could eventually be translated into more than 15 tongues.

B-M's sister company Marsteller is, meanwhile, re-designing the WFMH logo.

WFMH is funded by, among others, individuals and unrestricted grants from drugs companies. It acts as an umbrella organisation for the world's individual mental health charities, including Mind in the UK.

The Virginia-based organisation each year runs World Mental Health Day, staged for the first time in 1992. It takes place in October with the aim to improve understanding of metabolic syndrome, which affects more than 50 million people in the US.

One of the main ways by which it spreads its messages is via the United Nations, to which it is an accredited consultant. It also works directly with bodies including the World Health Organisation.
Rockliffe is running the account alongside manager Charlotte Astbury. The duo report to US-based WFMH secretary-general and CEO Preston Garrison, and director of programmes Deborah Maguire.

B-M has previously worked with the organisation on a 'small' schizophrenia project, said Rockliffe. No other agencies pitched for the business.

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