Mental Health: How marketing can help

26th October 2018

Mental health has been one of the most talked about issues of 2018, with people advocating for more support and recognition of the social, cultural and economic impact of mental health illnesses. With World Mental Health Day having taken place on 10th October, it was incredibly uplifting to see millions across the world create an open conversation around mental health and extend a hand of support to those suffering.

Working in the creative field, it’s important for the marketing services industry to use its creativity to shine a light on mental health and keep the conversation going in a way that removes the stigma around mental health and instead encourages open discussions. Being able to open up about a mental health illness is paramount to taking the first step in the right direction to getting help, but there are still so many people too afraid or embarrassed to talk about it.

Thankfully we are seeing more and more campaigns out there shouting about Mental Health in a positive and uplifting manner. Here’s a look at some of the campaigns that stick out for us.


World Health Organization’s ‘I had a black dog; his name was depression’

This campaign may have come out 6 years ago, but the message is just as powerful today. The campaign emotively portrays the experience of depression in the form of physical being, a dog, which is always a dominating presence. The use of animation is a wonderful way of showcasing a topic that is extremely hard to talk about and enables people to better understand what it’s like to live with a mental illness like depression. Not only does this speak to people of all ages, it allows us to think about the illness without focusing in on the person.


#Take20 by Young Minds

Something our partner agency Undercurrent worked on last year was the inspiring #Take20 campaign with Young Minds. The topic of conversation between parents and children often focuses on physical health; eating well and exercising regularly. However, it’s also important to remember to consider the mental wellbeing of your child too. The campaign reminds parents to take 20 minutes to do a fun activity with their kids and check in on them. Young Minds provides some fantastic ideas of activities to do with your child including, cooking up a storm with a mini bake off or getting green fingered in the garden. This campaign is a brilliant reminder to everyone of the importance of taking time, so whether it’s a child, friend or colleague take 20 minutes and check in.


#OkToSay by Heads Together

#OkToSay is a series of films from Heads Together demonstrating that it’s okay to say when something’s not right. This charity is supported by several well-known celebs, as well as the Royal Family, enabling their content to reach a huge number of people. In its series of #oktosay, Stephen Fry encourages people who are struggling to reach out and say so. With 1 in 6 of us experiencing mental health problems in the workplace, Fry’s video shows the importance of speaking out no matter who you are or what industry you’re in. There are constant pressures at work to hit targets, win pitches, save money and make money, that it’s easy for people to think they shouldn’t speak out and in fact just get on with it. These films encourage people not to be ashamed or scared of admitting that things aren’t perfect – because let’s face it, nothing is perfect!


These are just a couple of examples of compelling campaigns tackling the mental health issue head on and if there’s one thing they all have in common, it’s the recognition that we need to continue talking about this topic without stigmas and without tip-toeing around it. This issue is real and it’s affecting so many people that it’s vital to promote the message that it’s OK not to be OK.


By Victoria Wharton, Senior Account Manager