Mental health has long been a taboo subject for many Americans. But in a new large-scale, bilingual effort to promote awareness and acceptance of the subject, the Huntsman Mental Health Institute and the Ad Council show the most vulnerable segments of the population that it’s OK to talk about their struggles and emotions.
Launching today, the PSA campaign, titled “Love, Your Mind,” was developed by FCB New York and Chicago, and features a range of media including a 60-second film directed by Calmatic that is stylized as a motivational open letter to our inner selves.
The initial ad push is primarily geared towards Black and Hispanic men in the U.S. In 2024, the work will extend to other higher-risk groups, such as women, LGBTQ+ individuals and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
“The Ad Council has had a deep commitment to the issue of mental health for quite some time,” said Heidi Arthur, its chief campaign development officer, noting that “Love, Your Mind” represents the advertising nonprofit’s “most comprehensive” campaign under its wider Mental Health Initiative platform to date.
Featuring elements in English and Spanish, the multimedia effort will run across broadcast TV, radio, out-of-home, social and other media, much of which was provided pro bono. The goal is to reach whom Arthur calls the “down and dug in”—roughly 70 million Americans who are likely to need mental health support in their lifetimes, while also holding negative attitudes that may discourage them from seeking help. (Black and Hispanic men tend to overindex in this group.)
“[This campaign] is going to be everywhere and anywhere our target audience is,” Arthur said.
“The intention of the campaign was less about its longevity and focused more on what impact can we make now,” said Mike Williams, executive creative director at FCB New York. “What we were intentional about was giving people credit for what they’re doing already. We acknowledge what they may be experiencing as well as the work they are putting in to help themselves, even if they don’t realize it.”
Both the wide-reaching deployment and tactical media placements of “Love, Your Mind” were modeled on some tried-and-true lessons gleaned from the Ad Council’s Covid-19 vaccine education efforts.
“What we learned loud and clear is that you really can’t design a one-size-fits-all approach,” said Arthur, who added that working with “trusted messengers” during those pandemic-era campaigns was “critical” in having their message connect with audiences—a strategy the Ad Council plans to adapt in the new campaign as well.
Also integral to the campaign is a website, with versions in English and Spanish, that offers free mental health resources categorized by various emotions, diagnosable conditions and “life challenges” such as emotional trauma, relationship issues and substance abuse.
The Ad Council and the Huntsman Institute have also partnered with a number of agencies and community-based organizations to complement their national PSA push with additional activations including spoken-word ads tied to the “How Sweet the Sound” gospel music competition; a mental health summit in New York City on Nov. 9; and a new web series hosted on YouTube’s MannTV.