Primary care medical organization One Medical is taking an out-of-the-box approach to highlighting the importance of mental health: it released a new song.
The track, entitled "Better Days," was written by Grammy award-winning songwriter by Jason "Poo Bear Boyd," Justin Bieber's main collaborator, and Jared Gutstadt, CCO of music company Jinglepunks. It also uses lyrics taken from over 200 anonymous online posts about depression.
Agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners and Giant Spoon developed the project for One Medical in collaboration with iHeartMedia and the new iHeartRadio Original/Jingle Punks production “Bear and a Banjo” musical podcast with Dennis Quaid.
The "Bear and a Banjo" podcast is a historical fiction anthology centered on the eponymous characters, Bear and Banjo. Narrated by Quaid, who plays the character Dr. Q, it spans from the 1930s and 1970s and follows the protagonists as they experience pivotal moments in U.S. history. Those include the wrongful conviction of blues star Leadbelly, the birth of the CIA and card games with Sonny Liston. Each episode culminates in a song that will be featured in a “Bear and a Banjo” album produced by T Bone Burnett and featuring tunes by Boyd, Gutstadt and Bob Dylan.
The One Medical song runs within the podcast, features as a bonus track on the accompanying album and can also be heard on Spotify, iTunes and iHeart.
According to One Medical, research shows that fewer than five percent of people are screened for depression in the primary care process. The organization has implemented an automated mental health screening system with the goal of bringing this number to 100 percent of adult patients.
GS&P came up with the idea of creating the lyrics from anonymous internet comments. "People talk much more openly about their mental health online because they can remain anonymous,” says Tristan Graham, creative director at the agency, in a statement. “That’s what led us to the idea of creating a pop song out of anonymous internet posts—we wanted to move mental health conversations out of the shadows and into the mainstream.”
According to One Medical CMO Doug Sweeny, there's been a spike in the number of Amercians reportedly struggling with stress, anxiety and depression levels in recent years. Moreover, mental health issues affect nearly have of the organization's patients. "With anxiety, depression and other mental health issues on the rise, One Medical is making mental health a core part of the care we deliver," he explains. "We believe in treating the whole person—both body and mind." One Medical's mental health services include coaching one-on-one, in groups or virtually. The One Medical app also conducts mood check-ins with patients before their appointments, and the organization has mental health services for consumer and business members.
Sweeny says podcasts are part of One Medical's overall marketing and media mix given its member demographic. Other podcasts it sponsors include the New York Times Daily. One Medical came into the "Bear and Banjo" podcast via its media agency Giant Spoon. "The talent that was a part of the program is pretty exceptional," Sweeny says. "So instead of doing a standard 'brought to you by...' we wanted to find a way to authentically integrate into the program. And music felt like a great way to de-stigmatize mental [health]."