As Champions of All Things Good, Idea Hall is passionate about the mental healthcare space and invested in contributing positively to it. This article discusses how to distribute high quality mental health information in a way that resonates with the target audience.
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Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. for 10–34-year-olds. For every youth suicide, 100-200 make an attempt. In 2020, Orange County, Calif. had 38 suicide deaths among residents aged 10-24, an almost 20% increase from the year before. Faced with this alarming data, the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) sought communications support for disseminating suicide prevention information and resources to Orange County’s most at-risk youth.
In partnership with Be Well OC, OCHCA charged Idea Hall with creating a campaign that would utilize a science-backed approach to educate Orange County youth about how to prevent suicide. The campaign would teach them to recognize suicide warning signs and what to do if they suspect a friend is in need.
In response, Idea Hall created the “Be A Friend for Life” campaign, targeting youth ages 15-22 who are at the highest risk for suicide, specifically foster, LGBTQ+ and high-achieving youth. The campaign’s main goal was to connect with the audience where they are by using influential voices, platforms, and organizations to prevent youth suicide by empowering meaningful and lifesaving peer-to-peer action.
The campaign utilized a variety of tactics to achieve this, including partnerships with local Instagram influencers, in-school activations, billboard advertisements, bus stop signage in areas with high youth bus passenger rates, an array of digital advertisements, and online toolkits in Orange County’s seven threshold languages made available to local community-based organizations (CBOs).
Prior to launch, the campaign’s messaging and storyline was tested with youth in Southern California and proved that it would not only capture attention, but spur action. The Instagram-like aesthetic gave the campaign a sense of authenticity to the target audience that they quickly resonated with.
The two-month campaign, timed to coincide with the difficult holiday period, when suicide and suicide attempts seasonally increase, achieved more than 54 million impressions, nearly 50,000 clicks to the “Be A Friend for Life” landing page, where more suicide prevention information was available, and more than 132,000 engagements on social media. OCHCA and Be Well OC continue to utilize the creative assets to share the message and the online toolkits continue to be used.
The campaign and its important message continue to live on, encouraging everyone to be a friend for life.