In early 2013, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) President and former Senator Gordon Smith gathered at the White House with industry colleagues to talk about what they could do to address mental illness in America. NAB committed to using the power of its broadcast megaphone to educate Americans on mental health. NAB turned to us to deliver a compelling PSA campaign to chip away at the stigma surrounding mental illness and create an online community where teens and young adults struggling with mental health problems could open up and share their personal stories of recovery, tragedy, struggle, or hope.
Research showed that 1 in 5 Americans has experienced some sort of mental illness, and nearly two times as many young adults are affected. Our insights process revealed that the majority of the teen and young adult audience felt utterly alone, helpless, and reluctant to talk to others. Our PSA campaign—“What do you want to be?”—featured teens and young adults delivering the message that it’s okay to talk to others, help friends, and seek help. We determined that a genuine, hopeful, and empathetic tone would be the best approach. Social@Ogilvy
developed an online community on Tumblr—OK2TALK.org
—that reaches teens and young adults directly and creates a safe environment that fosters conversation and sharing.
Since our launch on July 23, local TV and radio stations have donated more than $16.2 million in free airtime for the campaign. OK2TALK.org has more than 16,480 followers, 3,000 submissions, 38,000 engagements, and 373,000 page views. Visitors clicked the "Get Help" button more than 33,000 times to access mentalhealth.gov
Perhaps an even greater measure of success was the increase in calls made to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Consumer engagement with OK2TALK contributed to an increase of 13,000 calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (promoted prominently on OK2TALK.org) in July/August 2013.