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National Mental Health Anti-Stigma Campaign



Mental illnesses (depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc.) are widespread. According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration(SAMHSA) in 2005 there were an estimated 21.4 million adults aged 18 or older with serious psychological distress (SPD). Among 18-25 year olds, the prevalence of serious mental health conditions is high (almost double that of the general population) yet this age group shows the lowest rate of help-seeking behaviors. Additionally, those with mental health conditions in this segment have a high potential to minimize future disability if social acceptance is broadened and they receive the right support and services early on.

The final report of the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health identifies stigma as one of the most pervasive barriers “to understanding the gravity of mental illnesses and the importance of mental health.” The report states that stigma is widespread in the United States and refers to stigma as “a cluster of negative attitudes and beliefs that motivate the general public to fear, reject, avoid, and discriminate against people with mental illnesses. Stigma leads others to avoid living, socializing, or working with, renting to, or employing people with mental disorders - especially severe disorders, such as schizophrenia. It leads to low self-esteem, isolation, and hopelessness. It deters the public from seeking and wanting to pay for care. Responding to stigma, people with mental health problems internalize public attitudes and become so embarrassed or ashamed that they often conceal symptoms and fail to seek treatment.”

Mental health recovery is a journey of healing and transformation enabling a person with a mental health problem to live a meaningful life in a community of his or her choice while striving to achieve his or her full potential.

Campaign Goal

Encourage, educate and inspire 18-25 year olds to step up and support friends they know are experiencing a mental health problem. Furthermore, the campaign aims to impact the lives of 18-25 year old mental health consumers by targeting their friends/peers to provide the critical support needed for recovery.

• Addresses stigma by giving people a specific role in the issue • Helps consumers by fostering an environment of acceptance

Target Audience

18-25 year old friends of people living with a mental illness.

Key Message to be Communicated

Be the first step in a friend’s recovery by supporting them if they have a mental illness.

Call to Action

Be there for your friend if they have a mental illness. Visit for more information.

Campaign Elements

• TV – three executions in various lengths (Friends, Video Game, and Door Knob) • Radio – three executions (Friends, 7:40 Movie, and Dead Air) • Print - various magazine and newspaper sizes • 30-sheet, 8-sheet, bus shelter/mall poster • Web banners – in various sizes • Website ( – robust site providing information for the target and mental health consumers about mental health problems, recovery, and tips on how one can support one’s friend who is living with a mental illness. • Brochure – provides the target with the tools to help support a friend they know is living with a mental illness in his/her recovery process. (available free through the website)

Launch Date



National Mental Health Anti-Stigma Campaign [1]

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [2]

SAMHSA's Resource Center to Address Discrimination and Stigma (ADS Center) [3]

The Advertising Council, Inc. [4]

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "National_Mental_Health_Anti-Stigma_Campaign". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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