Evaluation of a campaign to improve awareness and attitudes of young people towards mental health issues
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This study evaluated the effectiveness of the In One Voice campaign for raising mental health awareness and improving attitudes of youth and young adults towards mental health issues. The campaign featured a prominent male sports figure talking about mental health issues and used online social media.
A successive independent samples design assessed market penetration and attitudinal changes among the young people. Two samples completed an online questionnaire either immediately before (T1: n = 403) or 2 months after (T2: n = 403) the campaign launch. Website analytics determined changes in activity levels of a youth-focused mental health website (mindcheck.ca).
One-quarter (24.8 %, n = 100) of the respondents remembered the campaign. The proportion of respondents who were aware of the website increased significantly from 6.0 % at T1 to 15.6 % at T2. Average overall scores on standardized measures of personal stigma and social distance were not significantly different between T1 and T2 respondents. Attitudes towards mental health issues were statistically similar between respondents who were or were not exposed to the campaign. Those who were exposed to the campaign were significantly more likely to talk about and seek information relating to mental health issues.
The proximal outcomes of the campaign to increase awareness and use of the website were achieved. The distal outcome of the campaign to improve attitudes towards mental health issues was not successfully achieved. The brief social media campaign improved mental health literacy outcomes, but had limited effect on personal stigma and social distance.
KeywordsAnti-stigma campaign Social media Mental health awareness Youth Personal stigma Social distance
Financial support for this study was provided by BC Mental Health and Addiction Services.
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