In most circles, any discussion of mental health is still taboo. On this side of the “pond” we often pretend mental health is something other than what it really is, a disease, which can and should be treated.
In the UK, mental health is being put to the forefront by some interesting outdoor boards. The campaign is for Samaritan, a charity who tackles mental health and its challenges.
Featured in Ad Age, the campaign by Mother London directly takes on mental health by asking actual men, not actors, to share their stories and opinions. A unique approach the campaign uses is to feature handwritten words of advice from real-life men who have previously contacted the Samaritans feeling depressed or suicidal.
Running at locations like train stations, the boards are aimed at men when they are most susceptible, when they may be considering hurting themselves or pondering suicide. The campaign also includes social media ads.
According to AdAge’s reporting, the campaign comes as Samaritans releases results of a nationwide survey, which shows two in five (41%) men in England, Scotland and Wales aged 20-59 do not seek support when they need it because they prefer to solve their own problems.
Paul McDonald, executive director of external affairs at Samaritans, says: “We didn’t want to create just another awareness campaign. So we asked men to share their stories with us. Men who have been through tough times and come through the other side.
“They wrote some words down, and we’ve got those words on the posters to inspire and encourage other men going through difficult times to seek help, and to contact Samaritans if they’re ready to talk.”
Being in the U.S., I can’t help but wonder what kind of effect this sort of campaign would have on men here in the states. My guess is that results would echo the UK’s results if not prove more so. Most men like to solve our own problems or not even admit we have one.
Kudos to the Brits for trying to face this problem head on. Again, creativity in this case is best showcased rather simply but directly.
So what, dear readers, do you think of this campaign? Think it will work. Think it will do what it’s designed to do?
Let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear your comments!