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Youth Participants Design Ad Campaign to Promote Mental Health!

December 2, 2007 - recently they gathered a group of 8 youth between the ages of 15 - 24 for the mindyourmind Anti-Stigma Campaign. Together, this group worked towards creating three different materials to relay an anti-stigma message about mental health and to promote the website.  These materials comprised of a poster, a sticker, and a flash PSA.

Poster: When I Grow Up...” presents a young girl labelled by her future paths. With the endnote of the girl’s suicide thrown into the mix, the overall message that “suicide is the second highest cause of death amongst teens” is illustrated in the image. The sense of “cute innocence” presented by the picture heightens the sharp contrast.

Sticker: “Text Art” is a new art style that is rapidly gaining popularity in our culture. Designs created out of an assortment of words and images can be found anywhere from t-shirts to billboards. For the Anti-Stigma sticker we took inspiration from these designs. This idea stemmed from a wall size text art mural we worked on using words related to stigma. The same concept was transferred to a sticker by layering the artwork we created. These images utilize key words and designs that are meant to be appealing yet thought provoking.

PSA: “Reach Out...” incorporates the slogan and challenges the stigma surrounding self-harm. It was easily our most controversial and thought-engaging piece. There was initially a general concern about the possible triggers associated with this piece. We consulted with a number of professionals in the field of psychiatry and those familiar with self-harming behaviour. The consensus we finally reached was that creating awareness of this issue was something that we needed to do. The silence surrounding this issue, acts as a devastating catalyst in promoting stigma. Only by breaking through this silence, can we hope to move forward in tearing down the walls of stigma surrounding self-harm. The existence of controversy, suggests that there may be those few who respond negatively to this piece. Controversy, however, is a powerful tool for stimulating consideration, discussion, debate, and ultimately awareness.

The group dynamic of our three day marketing session, presented an atmosphere abuzz with creativity, positive energy, and synergy of ideas. Everyone had ideas and opinions to bring to the table, and in the process of creating our materials, there was an ever-growing sense of accomplishment. We were able to get so much done in such a short period of time because we were fortunate enough to have a group comprising a wide spectrum of ideas and yet consistently exuding a warm, productive, inspirational, and accepting energy. This allowed for a constant flow of fresh ideas as the varying perspectives of the team members were as unique and individual as the people presenting them.

This media release prepared by youth participants, Andrew (23) and Jen (21). This project was supported by RBC Foundation and Funded in part by the Government of Canada.