Another time point, a different story: one year effects of a social media intervention on the attitudes of young people towards mental health issues

Abstract

Purpose

This study extends an evaluation of a brief, social media intervention, called In One Voice, for raising mental health awareness and improving attitudes of youth and young adults towards mental health issues.

Methods

A successive independent samples design assessed market penetration and attitudinal changes among the young people who completed an online questionnaire 1 year after (T3: n = 438) the intervention. This is compared with two samples that completed a survey either immediately before (T1: n = 403) or 2 months after (T2: n = 403) the campaign launch.

Results

The proportion of respondents who remembered the campaign grew from 24.8 % at T2 to 48.6 % at T3. Elevated website activity on mindcheck.ca was sustained 1 year after In One Voice had ended. Small but significant reductions in personal stigma and social distance were detected from T1 and T3, which were not observed at T2. Respondents’ self-rated ability to help others with mental health issues and to engage in positive behaviors relating to mental health issues (e.g., seeking information) did not improve significantly from T1 to T3.

Conclusions

Improved attitudes towards mental health issues were observed among young people 1 year following a brief social media campaign. The campaign was less effective at providing the tools young people need to feel capable of helping someone who may be experiencing mental health issues, and motivating them to engage in constructive behaviors related to mental health.

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Acknowledgments

Financial support for this study was provided by BC Mental Health & Addiction Services.

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Correspondence to James D. Livingston.

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Livingston, J.D., Cianfrone, M., Korf-Uzan, K. et al. Another time point, a different story: one year effects of a social media intervention on the attitudes of young people towards mental health issues. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 49, 985–990 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-013-0815-7

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Keywords

  • Anti-stigma campaign
  • Social media
  • Mental health awareness
  • Youth
  • Personal stigma
  • Social distance