SHOW YOUNG PEOPLE THAT IT’S OKAY NOT TO FEEL OKAY
After we got adults talking about mental health in the workplace with the Power of Okay, SeeMe, Scotland’s national programme to end mental health and discrimination, turned their attention towards to an audience who felt like they are never heard: young people.
From previous research, it was obvious that young people were faced with increasingly more social pressure that in turn lead to increasingly more mental health issues. We needed to come up with a creative way to make young people feel more comfortable about talking about how they were feeling, offering them a platform that allowed them to speak their mind without feeling pressured.
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN
Before we could start doing any creative work though, we needed to get a deeper understanding of what young people thought and how they felt. So alongside gathering insights from recent studies, we also worked closely with them when developing our strategy and creative brief. We wanted to make this a campaign for them, so we involved them in the process. This allowed us to pinpoint what we should say, how and on which medium, ensuring that we didn’t just talk at them, but more gave them the chance to start talking.
Our research with them highlighted not just the issues taht bothered them but one key factor, a lot of the issues they felt that adult saw as ‘trivial’ or things that you just deal with as a teenager. While the case may be that in time you will realise the anxiety you had about your body, hair or, even, the size of your feet was wasted energy as you get older and have more perspective, it didn’t mean that they were any less harder to deal with.
We could not trivialise the issues that worried them
IT WILL BE OKAY
While the problems young people faced seemed widely diverse, there was one thread running through: the fact that young people feel the need to know that whatever’s going on, it’s okay. They needed a sort of reassurance that society was not offering them - they needed to know it’s okay not to be okay. They didn’t necessarily want the ‘problems’ to be ‘solved’ they just wanted to know that someone was listening and that it was okay to feel shite from time to time.
We wanted young people to know SeeMe’s there for them, so we developed both a poem visualised as a film, and an integrated website. Using the knowledge we gained from ‘Power of Okay’ and the differences in the audiences we created a bold, colourful execution that showed that no concern was too trivial, or voice too small.
WE MIGHT NOT LISTEN, BUT WE WILL WATCH
For the short film we chose to work with an animator that knew very well the struggles of mental health, an aspect of his life which he incorporated many times into his work before, making his work that more genuine. The video was built in such a way that it could work both with and without sound, working perfectly across a variety of mediums.
SWEAR TO LISTEN
The fact that we worked so closely with young people is what helped us develop the right tone of voice, teaching us how we should speak when we talk to them (the fact that words such as ‘boobs’ and ‘butts’ spike interest, while swearing was not completely off the table, saying ‘shite day’ being more than welcome). Our research had shown that as soon as the first swear word comes in the likelihood of someone switching off dropped significantly, basically when we swore people gave it a level of credence and trusted it more.
The video guided viewers to the website that was built as an inclusive platform that encouraged exploration of the various problems young people face, encouraging them to share, show or get support from others.
LISTEN, WATCH, WON’T SHARE
One key insight we gained from our research groups were ‘don’t expect us to share this’, they were very clear that sharing anything related to mental health on any social channel would always be seen as a red flag or even ‘attention seeking’, that didn’t mean they wouldn’t watch it though. The numbers backed this up, views were huge, shares were low.
Young people did start talking, and, with them, the rest of the world, the campaign being talked about on national TV news, national print media and national broadcast. #ItsOkayTo reached over 700,000 people on Twitter and Instagram in the first week of the campaign going live. And as the campaign website platform redirected visitors to SeeMe’s website, SeeMe saw an increase of 910% young visitors on their own platform.
When everyone was telling kids what they should be doing, we took our time to listen to what they had to say. This way we managed to create something that got young people engaged, and an active part in a campaign that champions their rights.