The Health Promotion Agency puts its best foot forward to fight discrimination against mental illness

The Health Promotion Agency and FCB just launched the third phase in its Step Forward campaign, which began its run on TV this week.

This is one of several variations of the ‘Like Minds, Like Mine’ campaign in conjunction with the Mental Health Foundation which FCB has worked on since about 2000, FCB New Zealand group account director Jane Wardlaw says.

She says in the current variation, phase one was convincing the nation there’s a problem, phase two was to re-evaluate and enable, showing video in relevant environments and getting people to step forward, and the last phase is curtailing the movement, broadcasting content on TV using influencers and getting others to ‘Step Forward’ as well.

“There had been a lull in communications but we also wanted a refresh of overall strategy of the project. We basically went in with recommending a campaign that really tried to look again at attitudes and behaviours of the general NZ population.”

The biggest problem is discrimination she says, and often people don’t know they are discriminating. “But what they don’t understand is that exclusion is discrimination and that can be not involving someone because they’re not sure how to do it … There’s overt and covert [discrimination]. But there’s other stuff that’s basically just excluding people because of a lack of knowledge … “

So, the FCB team decided to push the campaign from the digital outwards, and part of the strategy was the creation of a video dubbed “Katie’s Story”.

“The concept we have is using [the]Katie video, a young girl using pride and warmth and innocence as a tone, saying that we don’t tolerate other forms of discrimination,” she says. “Look how proud we are that we are one of the first nations to stand up for gay rights … it’s not that hard to step forward to be inclusive. We used the innocence of children to deliver what can be a difficult message. ‘We don’t discriminate here so why are we discriminating here’.”

We needed to get people understanding that covert discrimination is exclusion and it’s easier than people think to actually help somebody with a mental illness and therefore not discriminate, she says. “The concept was basically the insight that we wanted to work to. We wanted to be positive. New Zealanders have come a long way. [But] it’s trying to reinforce that but that discrimination is still on the public agenda and that there’s still a long way to go.”

 She says the main launch was on June 30 when FCB kicked off with native content, with the aim of informing New Zealanders that there is still an issue. “ … we used statistics and initiative with the media partners to use real people and cases of showing discrimination in action.”

She says it got TVNZ on board to use its contacts, influencers and personality.

New Zealanders can also ‘step forward’ online and give their permission for their names to be used in a newspaper advertisement and a TVNZ newsfeed listing the names of everyone who has stepped forward to help end mental illness discrimination in New Zealand.

FCB got former All Black Pita Alatini to hit the street and interview the public for a series of vox pops. “[He] said ‘One in five New Zealanders experience a mental illness’ and he would pose the questions, ‘If you were to have a lunch or dinner would you invite them [people with mental illnesses]… ”

Pita Alatini talks to kiwis about their views on mental illness discrimination. Step forward to show your support!  #stepforwardnz http://www.stepforwardnz.co.nz/

Posted by Like Minds, Like Mine on Sunday, 12 July 2015

Because otherwise it would still seem like a distant issue, FCB media director Blair Alexander adds. “So this was to crate talkability and to get mainstream media covering it as a piece of news.”

He says it wanted to avoid TV early in the campaign’s release. “We deliberately avoided TV because it can be seen as something distant and not personally relevant so that’s why we used digital channels to use messaging through targeting, allowing us to speak to particular audiences.”

He says FCB used video content, which would appear on personal devices so the message appeared personally relevant. The wording would target specific groups. “We added opening frames on them which posed questions to mothers, employers and members of sports teams. ‘Would you step forward for your teammates’, for example. We used data to identify specific audiences and then addressed the ads to them with the video content.”

TVCs began running this week with New Zealand influencers saying they had stepped forward and invited others to do the same. The influencers include: Chelsea Winter, Pita Alatini, Brodie Kane, Karen Olsen, Renee Wright, Greg Boyd and Gordon Harcourt. All TVCs can be viewed here

Stop mental illness discrimination in NZ. Sir John Kirwan is stepping forward. Will you? www.stepforwardnz.co.nz #StepForwardNZ #BeFair #BeKind #BeOpen

Posted by Like Minds, Like Mine on Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Key statistics the campaign is based around:

  • Fifty percent of New Zealanders will experience mental illness in their lifetime and one in five people will experience mental illness in a year.
  • People over 16 who have met the criteria for mental illness at some time in their lives make up almost 50 percent of all Kiwis, that includes about 500,000 New Zealanders who have been diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder and/or anxiety disorder in their lifetime.
  • Over 75 percent of New Zealanders would be comfortable with a new neighbour who was an ethnic minority or gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual, but only 51 percent had the same level of comfort if the neighbour had a mental illness.
  • Sixty-five percent of people were happy with a person with a mental illness joining an imaginary sports club but 27 percent would not invite them for a meal. 

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