Tuesday 10 October is World Mental Health Day, a day to raise awareness of mental health problems and how people can be supported. Although understanding surrounding the issue has grown, many still aren’t getting the right help.
In this special edition of ‘What we like’, we take a look at how publishers and brands are opening the conversation with readers about mental health and how they can support themselves and others
One of Brits’ biggest concerns
Mental health problems are difficult experiences that make it harder for us to get on with our lives.
According to the charity Mind, mental health problems affect around one in four people in any given year. They range from common illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, to rarer diagnoses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
In Newsworks’ ‘State of the Nation’ survey in 2023 commissioned with OnePoll, health and mental health topped a list of Brits’ key concerns.
As part of their editorial coverage and commercial content addressing these worries, news brands have raised the profile of mental health over the past year and beyond by increasing understanding, encouraging conversations and highlighting where readers can get support.
Mental health and wellbeing podcasts
‘Mentally yours’ is the Metro’s weekly mental health and wellbeing podcast. Lifestyle editor Rachel Moss is joined by a guest host, from listeners willing to share their stories to celebrities that can empathise and challenge stigma. The podcast aims to offers hope and proof that things can improve for those struggling to cope.
Bryony Gordon hosts ‘Mad World’, a Telegraph podcast speaking to celebrities and everyday people about their struggles with mental health.
The podcast addresses a wide array of mental health challenges, from breakdowns to addictions and even thoughts of suicide. Through these conversations, Gordon encourages an atmosphere of support and awareness, creating a sense of community for those navigating their mental health journeys.
Commercial campaigns standing up for mental health
Men’s Health Week
Boots ran a two-part partnership in June 2023 during Men’s Health Week to promote the support offered at Boots for those impacted by erectile dysfunction.
The first part saw Boots take part in the conversation during the week itself, placing tactical digital ads alongside relevant content to provide readers affected by the story with an actionable next step.
A follow-up partnership launched in July, building on the success of the first partnership by using native content to build knowledge and understanding of erectile dysfunction and let readers know Boots was here to help.
The Independent partnered with Galaxy this summer as part of the chocolate brand’s campaign to spotlight conversations around female empowerment. The partnership was placed contextually around World Mental Health Day content to help raise more awareness to those struggling with issues such as imposter syndrome.
The campaign is based on the idea that when we share experiences, challenges and learnings, we can create a ‘ripple effect’ of positive change. It features across The Independent’s platforms with a wealth of inspiring, informative, expert-led articles aimed at helping young women find solutions to the challenges they face today.
On the news brand’s video platform Independent TV, each episode of ‘The Ripple Effect’, hosted by AJ Odudu, focuses on a core theme, including imposter syndrome, financial security and smashing stereotypes. These emotive and insightful stories aim to encourage conversation around the challenges women face today and how to overcome them.
Read more here.
Times are changing
A stand-out half page ad from Mind in September 2023 reminded readers how times are changing in better acknowledging mental health issues, encouraging anyone going through a difficult time or struggling with their mental health to reach out to them.
The ad also called on readers more widely to leave a gift to Mind in their wills to continue its mission to ensure everyone with a mental health problem has access to the right care and services.
Mind also partnered with sportswear brand Asics in another news brand campaign reminding readers of the importance of exercise as part of mental self-care.
The ‘New personal best’ ad encouraged readers to look beyond highest scores and fastest times when it comes to exercise, instead celebrating personal achievements and milestones in becoming healthier in mind and body.
More highlights from news brands’ mental health coverage
Mental health hero of the year
The Sun’s ‘Who Cares Wins’ awards, in partnership with NHS Charities Together, honours those across the health and social sector who go above and beyond for their patients or causes.
Amandip Sidhu was awarded the ‘Caroline Flack Mental Health Hero’ award, presented by Emily Atack and Anthony Joshua.
When Sidhu’s brother Jagdip, a 47 year old doctor, took his own life due to the stress of work in the NHS, he wanted to ensure no more lives were lost for this reason.
In 2019, the levels of burnout, anxiety and depression were at a high in the medical profession. Sidhu set up the charity ‘Doctors in Distress’ which has since helped more than 2,500 healthcare professionals. The charity runs support groups and workshops to help health professionals talk about their anxieties. The aim is to reduce the stigma around mental health in the workplace to make the NHS a better and safer workplace.
“Where’s my mate?”
To raise awareness, the Independent covered ‘Sport the Signs’, a mental health campaign which emptied football stadium seats in the aim to educate men on how to spot initial signs that could warrant a supportive mental health check-in, such as when that mate who never misses a football game, misses a game.
The charity focused on heightening awareness around male mental wellbeing in the lead up to World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September after research found an informal environment, such as the pub or watching a football game, is a time when men would be most comfortable checking in with a friend.
However, two thirds (65%) would keep it to themselves if they were struggling, despite 48% saying speaking to a loved one has helped when suffering with their mental health.