headspace – the National Youth Mental Health Foundation – together with CHE Proximity and PR Edge, have launched a national awareness campaign aiming to shift perceptions around the stigma of seeking help for youth mental health issues.
Each year a quarter of all young people (12-25 years) in this country will experience a mental health issue, however, many of them won’t seek the help they need. In fact, over 50 per cent of young people are too embarrassed to talk about mental health issues, demonstrating that stigma plays a profound and significant role in their reluctance to speak up.
CHE Proximity was presented with the challenge to open up the conversations around mental health help seeking, while talking to a hard to reach audience about a subject that that they would otherwise keep to themselves.
As a pre-cursor to the launch of the National Awareness Campaign, a live installation, named ‘The Big Stigma’, was constructed in Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station. From Monday 6 June – Friday 10 June, daily commuters and the general public had the chance to visit this eye-catching structure and take a piece of the stigma away – a panel from its outer shell containing information about mental health issues and how to seek help for them.
By doing so, Melburnians helped tear down the stigma around getting help for mental health issues. The more people that visited, the smaller the Big Stigma became.
On board to show his support around for the campaign, was Australian TV personality and comedian, Dave Hughes. Having experienced his own battle with mental health at only 21 years of age, Hughes wanted to raise awareness with all Australians to encourage the conversation and help more young people seek help for better outcomes.
This week, a national digital hub has been launched, complete with a virtual stigma to enable all Australian to tear down the Stigma. It provides links to resources and tools for friends and family seeking to support young people with mental health issues.
Other campaign elements including TV, radio, digital banners, social media, outdoor advertising and flyers, aim to reinforce the importance of ensuring Australians become part of a solution for those who suffer.
Simone Williams, head of strategic communications at headspace, said that the Big Stigma campaign is an innovative and effective way to make a very real issue facing Australian youth more tangible.
“This campaign seeks to change attitudes and encourage Australians to reduce the fear and social distance around seeking help for mental health issues, by bringing the issue to the forefront of the public conscience.”
CHE Proximity’s creative director, Anthony Moss, added, “Those who are in the most need of early intervention often don’t feel empowered enough to seek help.
“Our job was to bring visibility to the prevalence of mental health issues among young Aussies and to show that headspace is doing something about it in a big way.”