9th October 2023

Let's talk about Mental Health

How to connect with your audience

In a world that is increasingly opening up discussions about mental health, effective communication on this subject has never been more crucial. Whether you're a mental health professional, an advocate, or someone who simply wants to raise awareness, how you communicate with your audience plays a significant role in breaking down stigma, providing support, and fostering understanding.

Mental health is a topic that's no longer hidden. It's out in the open, and we're all talking about it more than ever, but so much more can still be done.

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Cardinal Clinic

Cardinal Clinic, a private mental health hospital in Windsor operating for over 45 years, contracted Big Cat to create their first marketing campaign, ever.

Just like in any relationship, first impressions are crucial. When it comes to healthcare, the first impression can set the tone for an individual's entire treatment journey. Our primary task was to introduce the Cardinal Clinic to potential patients in a way that was not only informative but also comforting and importantly highlighted that support is available.

The fear of the unknown is the number one barrier that often discourages people from seeking mental health treatment. So, what’s the solution? Transparency.

Our creative aims were to showcase who Cardinal Clinic is – inside and out. By showcasing the facility, the dedicated people behind it and the quality of care provided. Taking a transparent approach when launching Carinal Clinic’s first-ever marketing campaign transformed them from a best kept secret to a well-known industry leader.

Here we share tips on how to talk about mental health within your communications.

Cardinal Clinic Leading Mental Health Expertise

Start with empathy

Reported by mental health charity Mind, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England.

The cornerstone of any effective mental health communication is empathy. Mental health issues can stem from a wide range of causes, including loneliness, trauma, debt, bereavement, health conditions, work stress and lifestyle factors.

Empathy is the secret sauce to successful mental health communications. Understand that mental health is a deeply personal and often sensitive topic for many. Approach your audience with genuine empathy, recognising their feelings and experiences without judgment. This sets the tone for open and honest conversations and helps individuals to know that their feelings are valid.

Speak the language

Before you dive into mental health communications, it's imperative to understand your audience. Recognise that mental health is a diverse and nuanced subject, and your audience may consist of individuals at various stages of their mental health journey, or groups that may have different views associated with mental health. Tailor your messages to their specific needs, concerns, and levels of awareness.

Speak your audience's language. Use relatable terms and phrases that resonate with them. Avoid jargon or overly clinical language that might feel distant or confusing.

Inclusivity matters. Be sure to use language that is respectful of diverse experiences, backgrounds, and identities. Acknowledge that different cultural perspectives exist and should be respected.  Mental health affects everyone, so make sure your messaging reflects that. For example, studies show that men prefer a solution-focused approach when it comes to seeking help for mental health, therefore frame your messaging around taking action for men.

Break down stigma

One of the most important missions in mental health communications is to break down the stigma surrounding it and around seeking support. Remind your audience that it's OK to talk about mental health and that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

For far too long, mental health and physical health have been treated as two separate entities. Use your platforms to challenge misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding mental health. Encourage open conversations and portray mental health as a natural part of the human experience.

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Promote active listening

Effective communication involves not just talking but also listening actively. Encourage your audience to share their thoughts and feelings; and, when they do, listen attentively. Validate their experiences and emotions. Sometimes, simply being heard can make a significant difference in someone's mental health journey.

Share personal stories

Stories have a magical way of connecting with people. Consider sharing personal stories, whether from within your organisation or from real people who have faced mental health challenges. Personal anecdotes can make the topic feel more relatable and less abstract. Share success stories, resilience, and stories of people who have found their way to better mental health. Positivity can be contagious!

Encourage self-care

Mental health isn't just about dealing with problems; it's also about self-care and well-being. Encourage your audience to prioritise self-care and mental wellness. Share tips, techniques, and practices that can contribute to improved mental health.

Encourage your audience to identify the activities that make them feel happiest and use them as their go-to self-care activities. From taking a long soak in the bath to watching a film that makes you laugh, or doing something active outdoors, when you are feeling low you should turn to one of your favourite self-care activities to give yourself a wellbeing boost.

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Provide resources

Your audience might have questions or need support. Provide them with resources like helplines, websites, or organisations where they can find more information or seek help. It's about being there for them when they need it. Ensure that your audience knows where to turn for support and guidance and that seeking help is a sign of strength.

Effective mental health communication is a powerful tool for reducing stigma, providing support, and fostering understanding. Approach your audience with empathy, use inclusive language, and promote open dialogue. Remember that mental health is a deeply personal journey, and your role is to support and guide, not to diagnose or fix. By communicating on this subject with compassion and knowledge, you can make a positive impact on the lives of many and contribute to a more empathetic and supportive society.

If you’d like to take a look at any of our work with Cardinal Clinic, click here. Or if you're looking to enhance your internal communications and talk about mental health in your communications, get in touch to see how we can support your business. Let's keep the conversation going!

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