How can charities ensure that their voice is heard this Mental Health Awareness Week

Next month we celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week – a week for educating people about mental health and an opportunity for the whole of the UK to focus on achieving good mental health.

Over the last few years, Mental Health Awareness Week has become a big moment within the UK calendar, garnering support from royalty, celebrities, and the general public, whilst bringing attention to mental illness and its effect on peoples’ lives globally.

But while Mental Health Awareness Week does offer a great ‘hook’ for third sector organisations to promote their values and services, there are many other charities, businesses and brands who are looking to leverage the week as well – making it very loud and overcrowded. Because of this, it is vital for mental health charities to consider ways that they can really ‘cut through the noise’ and get in front of their key target audiences.

We specialise in leveraging awareness days for charities and third sector organisations has been our ‘bread and butter’ for many years. To help mental health charities to share their voice effectively this upcoming Mental Health Awareness Week below we have shared a couple of tips and tricks that we have picked up along the way:

Tip 1 – What do you want to say, and who to?
First up, you need to decide what you want your Mental Health Awareness Week campaign to say.

Is there an issue you want to raise awareness of? A service you want to promote? A campaign you need to push forward? Whatever the topic you want to discuss, make sure your message is clear and concise from the offset – you do not want to end up confusing people with too much or too little information.

If possible, your message should also include data, information and examples which will capture people’s attention and make them stop and think. There are a lot of people talking about mental health – what about your campaign is different, and why is it important?

Identifying your target audience early on will help you to craft your campaign message. Do you want to speak directly to the general public? Or is your aim to speak to more beneficiaries? Perhaps you want to engage with businesses in order to develop more corporate partnerships?

Identifying your target audience early on will help you to craft your campaign message. Do you want to speak directly to the general public? Or is your aim to speak to more beneficiaries? Perhaps you want to engage with businesses in order to develop more corporate partnerships?

Alternatively, your campaign may be multi-stakeholder and engage all the above audiences. Whatever your audience, this audience-first approach will lay strong foundations for your campaign message and communication.

Tip 2 – Decide on a ‘CTA’
Next, you will need to confirm your campaign’s call to action (CTA).

What do you want to achieve from this campaign? What’s your end goal? Are you aiming to drive visitors to your website to encourage beneficiaries to use your resources? Maybe you want to drive donations or support volunteers to carry out fundraising? Or you could be campaigning to get policymakers to pay attention to your case?

Pick your ideal end goal and ensure that you are providing your target audience with a way that they can support this – such as a donate button, a petition to sign, or some support/advice they can access.

Tip 3 – Do something different.
Remember that you are the story, not the week.

You need to take into account that the awareness week itself is not the main story, but your activity and the advice you want to share to mark it should be. Charities that launch a ‘vanilla’ response to Mental Health Awareness Week are unlikely to see any interest from the media, you need to be creative and think about how you can make it thought-provoking and eye-catching – whilst also relevant to your charity and its values.

Begin by looking at it from the public’s perspective, why should they listen to your advice and case studies? Perhaps you can commission some new research into a topic that relates to your charity and unveil the findings to the media? Or launch a celebrity-led campaign with an individual who is willing to open up about their experience with mental health, and how your services can help similar people who are struggling? It might be that your target audience is frequently online, so you might want to launch a campaign that involves everyone coming together through the use of a hashtag?

Whatever you decide, make sure it’s different and hasn’t been done before.

Tip 4 – Consider media space.
Once you’ve figured out your newsworthy campaign angle, identifying key media publications that you want to feature in should be your next step – but remember most charities will be fighting to make it onto the page on Mental Health Awareness Week too!

You need to approach media titles that your target audience is reading, watching, or listening to, and make sure that these are your primary focus. If you’re looking to engage with women in their 60s, it could be that you avoid a TikTok campaign  – or if people in their 20s are your target, they might not be reading the broadsheets every day. So, considering the media you engage with is key!

Timing is also important. Many charities and non-profits are going to want their campaigns to land during Mental Health Awareness Week. Instead of fighting for space, why not launch your campaign a little bit earlier or later than the usual herd – as journalists are more likely to have time to consider what you are saying, and find a space for you.

Tip 5 – Support with social.
Social media is a simple and cost-effective way to amplify engagement for your charity and maximise the reach of your PR activity – so consider how you can support your media activity through the use of your social media channels.

Think about creating a dedicated hashtag to use alongside your campaign posts, so that your content can be easily found. Or look into executing a User Generated Content (UGC) activity, by asking your followers and communities to post something in support.

Partnering with celebrities, influencers and micro-influencers can also help to amplify a campaign on social media and allow you to tap into larger audiences. You can ask them to share a specific message, photo or CTA with their followers –increasing the likelihood of your charity being seen on or after the awareness day.

And don’t forget to respond to any comments and mentions that people leave on your social media pages about the campaign. This can help to keep the momentum going and ensure that the campaign is spread even further.

If you would be interested in discussing how we could help your charity campaign stand out this Mental Health Awareness Week, get in touch with our award-winning Third Sector team today.

Get in touch with the team