Can We Get Healthcare Consumers Invested in Mental Health Campaigns?
A taboo topic for decades, mental health is increasingly in the spotlight thanks to a proliferation of mental health campaigns — including some very high profile celebrity public service announcements from Bring Change 2 Mind, a non-profit organization founded by actress and mental health advocate Glenn Close. Raising awareness and breaking down barriers to seeking care are just the beginning, however. In order to create widespread engagement capable of improving patient outcomes, mental health campaigns need to connect with the right healthcare consumers, at the right time, with the right message.
Addressing the Barriers to Mental Health Care
Experts estimate that up to one in five people may have a diagnosable mental health condition. Yet many go undiagnosed due to a lack of information or the stigma associated with mental illness. One of the campaigns that is designed to “create a new story in America about mental health, mental illness treatment and wellness,” according to a recent article in Psychiatry Advisor, is the Campaign to Change Direction. A collaborative effort led by Give an Hour, the campaign includes a wide range of participants — from nonprofit and government agencies to community organizations and businesses.
The idea for the campaign arose from the White House National Conference on Mental Health held in 2013. The primary goals of the campaign are to:
- Ensure that mental health is on equal footing with physical health.
- Encourage people to prioritize mental well-being in themselves and others.
- Create a common jargon to improve recognition of the signs of mental illness.
At the campaign launch, First Lady Michelle Obama said, “It is time to flip the script on mental health in the country…It is time to tell everyone who is dealing with a mental health issue in this country that they are not alone and that getting support and treatment isn't a sign of weakness — it's a sign of strength.”
Targeting Mental Health Campaigns More Effectively
Campaigns have been launched to target specific demographics: students, mothers, office workers and more.
In Pennsylvania, students launched the “Let’s Talk” campaign with a brainstorming event that brought together students from 31 schools— all members of Aevidum. Started by a single school in 2003 following the suicide of a classmate, the nonprofit Aevidum has since grown to have clubs in 80 schools. The “Let’s Talk” campaign actually looks to go beyond talking to actually changing the culture in schools so that students can recognize warning signs but also foster an atmosphere of support and acceptance.
As more people begin to talk about mental health, the question becomes, what is the best approach to these campaigns? Do they need to be led by a healthcare or community organization to be successful? And are there better ways of targeting audiences to ensure the word gets out to the people who need it most?
Healthcare consumerism has changed how healthcare providers need to design and deliver their solutions. A one-size-fits-all approach — whether it involves PSAs to drive awareness or educational materials made available to local community organizations — will have scattershot results. To succeed at improving patient outcomes, organizations need to leverage consumer insights to develop tools that target individuals based on their unique motivations, behaviors and attitudes towards health and wellness.
The 2015 PatientBond Consumer Diagnostic, a nationally representative study of healthcare consumers, included many respondents indicating they had been diagnosed with one or both of the following mental and emotional health conditions:
- Anxiety: n = 599
- Depression: n = 549
The PatientBond Consumer Diagnostic examines these consumers’ attitudes and behaviors across a variety of healthcare topics:
- Health and wellness
- Media and information source preferences
- Message receptivity and fatigue
- The desired role of various healthcare professionals
- Treatment of their health conditions with prescriptions, OTCs and Vitamins/Minerals/Supplements
- Health Care Reform
- Most important attributes of a health insurance company
- …plus many more topics
A psychographic segmentation model was derived from the 2013 and 2015 studies, which classifies healthcare consumers according to their motivations and communication preferences. Using PatientBond solutions proprietary psychographic segmentation model, organizations can identify these unique qualities and develop custom communication tools that will be more effective at connecting with healthcare consumers.
Where some consumers, for example, may want links to mental health resources on the web to explore, others may respond better to a more hands-on approach from a trusted healthcare provider, like a lunch-and-learn session at a local church or community center. The key to real engagement is providing solutions that meet the needs of individuals.