This is a guest post from the people responsible for promoting an anti mental health discrimination campaign called ‘Time to change’.
We don’t normally do adverts but I thought that this would be ok – it would be very interesting to hear if you have any comments or observations?
Time to Change is run by leading mental health charities Mind and Rethink, and backed by £16 million from the Big Lottery Fund and £2 million from Comic Relief.
The Time to Change charity was successfully launched in Jan this year with an advertising campaign created by MCBD, with media planning by Naked and media buying by the7Stars. The campaign featured a TV ad: “The Bridge”, celebrity and real people testimonial posters and press ads (featuring Ruby Wax, Stephen Fry and others) and a Mental Illness Myth/Fact press and online campaign.
The latest phase of the campaign includes a more provocative piece which tackles the stigma surrounding mental illness head on. It was decided to launch these films online for a number of reasons, firstly because most mainstream movies are launched through rich media online and we wanted to ape this type of media placement. Secondly a vital part of this campaign is to encourage people to pass on these films to friends so online is the perfect environment to facilitate the viral spread of the campaign.
Two films break online on 10th August, both of which play on the negative stereotypes that people hold about people with schizophrenia. The first film “Schizo movie” fools the viewer into believing that it’s a promo for a thriller. It purposefully takes its cues from horror movie trailers, using lots of dark imagery. However once the film starts to play we meet Stuart who is a regular guy, just like you or I, but who also happens to have schizophrenia. This approach allows TTC to challenge the perceptions people have about people with mental health problems without finger-pointing.
The second film “Kid’s Party” will be seeded into video sites with the title “schizophrenic man terrifies kids at party” with a still of a typical kid’s party next to it. Instead of seeing youngsters being frightened by a person with schizophrenia, viewers see a normal children’s party with the person “scaring” the children with a giant spider made out of balloons. As this footage is revealed the person voices over the film and explains how thanks to support from his friends he’s able to live a full life despite having schizophrenia.
1 in 4 of us will have a mental health problem at some stage in life, yet research shows that attitudes to mental illness are just getting worse. And for many the stigma is harder to deal with than the illness itself. Time to Change aims to improve public attitudes and get mental health problems out into the open.
Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, said: “Both films have been designed to attract members of the public who don’t realize they are causing stigma and discrimination. Evidence shows that provocative films make a big difference to attitudes and both films will go a long way to reducing the stigma associated with mental health problems.”
She continued: “One in four of us will have a mental health problem at some stage of our lives. It can happen to anyone. Stigma and discrimination wrecks lives. Yet everyone can make a change in their attitudes now – you don’t need to be an expert to make a difference to friend, family member or colleague who needs your support.”
Michael Pring, managing director, MCBD said: “This is a very brave campaign for the mental health world to run with but we’re confident that getting people to nod along with prejudice and then confronting them with the reality will prove an effective approach”.