Ending the Stigma on Mental Health

Photo courtesy of creativecommons.org.
Photo courtesy of creativecommons.org.

The stigma behind mental health is increasing with the number of individuals who have these conditions, and there is a serious lack of education about it. As of right now the mental health definition among the public is in bad shape, and who better to fix this reputation than public relations students?

“Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood,” according to MentalHealth.gov.

Stopping the stigma surrounding mental health is becoming more and more important in our society. This year, PRSSA members have the opportunity to join the conversation. The PRSSA 2017 Bateman Case Study Competition focuses on stopping the stigma and changing the way we think and talk about mental health. The Competition, in partnership with The Campaign to Change Direction, will challenge students to strategically and creatively shape the message about mental health.

Public relations students have the ability to help end the stigma surrounding mental illness. We can start a positive conversation about these illnesses through social media, face-to-face interactions and campaigns such as the Bateman Competition. Part of branding is education, and we need to educate our audience on the facts and myths.

Mental health disorders affect one in four Americans each year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Mental health has an impact on everyone’s lives, whether it is you or someone you know. Being in the public relations field, we have the knowledge and resources available to us to change the public’s opinion about brands, topics etc. Pretend that mental health is your brand, now how would you fix its image?

Nicole Pilbeam is a sophomore public relations and strategic communication major with minors in business, professional writing and mass communication at Olivet Nazarene University. In her free time Nicole loves to go on coffee runs with friends and watch Netflix with her dog.

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