"Say it out loud" works. According to current research conducted by DMH Senior Policy Advisor, Dr. Lisa Braude, target groups exposed to the campaign's targeted messaging see their ability to respond positively to individual and family mental health challenges in a different and more positive light than individuals who are unaware of "Say it out loud." Dr. Braude advises that because it is an ongoing, multi-phase campaign, it is best to view these findings as a "snapshot" rather than a finished portrait of the campaign's ultimate outcome. "Formal research requires that we account for a number of variables including a public service campaign's start up phase and subsequent timetable. Nevertheless, "Say it out loud" shows an ability to motivate sustainable changes in personal behavior. That's good news for everyone concerned with promoting good mental health, particularly during these unusually stressful economic times." Among the other variables carefully taken into account from the online data gathered from over 500 Illinoisans were age, racial/ethnic diversity, gender, family circumstances and educational background.
||Percent Change after Seeing or Hearing Ads
|Believe there is something you can do to prevent mental health challenges
|Would try to help someone they care about who is worried or sad
|Would ask for help from someone they trust if they felt worried or sad
|Would ask for help from someone they trust if their child seemed worried or sad
|Would visit a website for information to support their own mental health
|Would visit a website for information to support mental health of someone they care about
"Say it out loud" is a multi-year statewide campaign done in partnership with the Illinois Mental Health Partnership that promotes good mental health, reduces the barriers that prevent people from seeking or offering help and support, and creates stronger bases for both support and service delivery networks for adults, youth and children with mental health challenges. It is based on a significant body of current research indicating that the optimal way of reducing general intolerance traditionally associated with mental illnesses is through engaging with one another on this issue in a truly meaningful way, typically by sharing our concerns, experiences and knowledge.
Although word of mouth is a key component, the campaign's strategy includes advertising (outdoor, radio and print), media relations and a dedicated website (www.mentalhealthillinois.org). Contrary to public service campaigns based on a "scare-you-straight" approach, the campaign's messaging development relies on community leaders willing to make the effort to build a network of partners with community-based organizations, employers, service providers, public schools and other appropriate organizations.
The survey shows that across large population segments, carefully crafted targeted and intentional messaging about mental health's vital connection to our general wellbeing results in immediate changes in knowledge, awareness, and perceptions. The next step is to ensure that these changes become permanently embedded in the daily lives of individuals, families and communities in every corner of the state.