I want to use this blog post to celebrate the work of another agency, who have worked closely with our insight group, Scientific Intelligence, on a number of well-known campaigns. They are DentsuBos, and their latest campaign is for CAMH, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
This campaign hits close to home for me, and for so many of us, as it addresses mental illness. Growing up, my family dealt with bi-polar illness and depression numerous times. Repeatedly we lost everything: jobs, career, savings, reputation, and all sense of safety and security. There is no darkness like the darkness of mental illness unaddressed. It was only through courage, faith and the help of dedicated mental health professionals that we not only survived, but eventually recovered – and went on to flourish.
But mental illness – and mental health – is still taboo. We barely talk about it. We still avoid the subject as a society. We whisper it at dinner tables and cocktail parties, if we speak of it at all. And we say nonsensical and harmful things to friends, loved ones and colleagues when someone is reaching out for help. Things like “It’s all in your head”. Or “You just need a girls’ night out.” Or “Try sleeping it off.” And my personal favorite: “Why don’t you try not being depressed?”
DentsuBos approached us last year and asked that we do a mapping for CAMH and the issue of mental health. One of the insights that was revealed – was blindingly obvious, but we were too close to it to see it until the mapping. It is the notion that mental health is universally “essential for our survival.” As individuals, as an economy, as a society. Over $50 billion is lost each year to the Canadian economy alone to unaddressed mental health issues.
Not to mention on an individual level: A job loss, a divorce or breakup, losing your home in a hurricane, the loss of a loved one – or no apparent reason at all – can lead any one of us to require mental health support.
You can view the DentsuBos campaign on CAMH’s YouTube channel. It’s time we did something about the issue. There’s groundbreaking research happening at CAMH. Let’s make ourselves not only aware of it, but let’s get used to talking about it.
Is it all in your head? I don’t know. But this we know: It’s all in our hands.