MNI Blog  /  3 minute read

How To Effectively Advertise During the Mental Health Crisis

The pandemic has resulted in a significant mental health crisis. Learn how to advertise to audiences in need of support during these hard times.

My job is to use content to raise awareness about a variety of topics ranging from tech to cause. In this capacity, I try to be purposeful. As the country reckons with a youth mental health crisis that the pandemic only made worse, and emergency room visits for suicide attempts rise at an alarming rate, I find myself wondering how can I help? Well one thing I know I can do right away is use this space to help those who know more about mental health than I do to get the word out. With this intent, below is a re-post of a blog MNI ran several months ago on how to use digital media to get in front of people and offer help through mental health advertising. As The Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy wrote in in an Advisory, “It would be a tragedy if we beat back one public health crisis only to allow another to grow in its place.

How To Effectively Advertise During the Mental Health Crisis

The pandemic instantly altered life as we knew it, as the world stood still to beat the fight against COVID-19. With strict lockdown measures in place, feelings of loneliness, depression, anxiety, and anguish began to rise. 44% of U.S. adults now experience depression and anxiety due to the pandemic. People are struggling to cope with these behavioral changes, resulting in the significant mental health crisis we’re faced with today.

Destigmatizing Mental Health During the Pandemic

As the mental health conversation gains momentum, it’s shifting from a taboo subject to a key buzz word among society. The spotlight on mental health continues to shine, as we’re working together to destigmatize the conversation and realize it’s “okay not to be okay.” With comfort level around mental health on the rise, people are more willing to share their experiences and seek help. (MRI-Simmons 2021 COVID-19 Media Fusion)

GettyImages-1303455501 CroppedThere’s a strong desire to explore mental health services due to increased availability, low cost, and convenient options. Mental health services have drastically increased their spending between February and April of this year (+2,780%). With telehealth on the rise, patients can easily and effectively connect with doctors for both physical and behavioral needs. 88% of U.S. adults value the importance of mental health care – a trend that is sure to remain strong. Thus, advertisers must be bold in their approach to inform consumers about the resources available to support them along their mental health journey. As we begin to live in a post-pandemic world, the demand for telehealth and mental health services is here to stay.

(COVID Boosts Mental Health Marketing, Softens Stigma)

(MRI-Simmons 2021 COVID-19 Media Fusion) 


Why The Mental Health Crisis Led To A Rise in Advertising

Advertising in the mental health industry is rapidly growing, with heightened interest in both the B2C and B2B space. Ad spending in the B2C space has increased as meditation apps, remote therapy sessions, stress-busting gummies, sleep aids, and CBD products have flourished during the pandemic. Calm, a mobile app that helps with meditation and sleep, spent $15.6M on TV commercials and tripled their Facebook spending from March 2020 through August 2020.

In their latest ad campaign promoting Stress Comfort gummies, Nature’s Bounty promises a way for consumers to “find peace” with ingredients such as gamma-aminobutyric acid, melatonin, and lavender extract. As consumers are struggling to cope with the effects of the pandemic, they’re turning to products that reduce stress, anxiety, and worry – which are experiencing a boom in advertising.

(In Hard Times, a Barrage of Ads Promises Peace of Mind)


GettyImages-1006503830 Cropped-1How Marketers Can Increase Trust in a Time of Mental Health Crisises

With the rise in demand for mental health services, it is essential for marketers to quickly become a trusted resource. Marketers need to strategically connect with audiences in need of support and guidance. A mix of digital and traditional media is key, focusing on streaming services, online, billboards, and magazines to generate mass awareness and encourage people to lean on the resources available.

Utilizing celebrity influencers and bold face names like Prince Harry, is also at the forefront, as an increasing number of personalities are opening up about their mental health journey and being advocates for openness. For example, the online mental health service, Talkspace, promoted their brand using the voices of Michael Phelps and Demi Lovato to make a powerful impact on consumers. Oprah and Prince Harry , The Duke of Sussex, are also teaming up for a documentary series on mental health to air on AppleTV+. Building a trustworthy and relatable brand voice that lets consumers know they’re not alone is a saving grace not just in these times, but always.

As society adapted to the “new normal,” the conversation around mental health also became normal – a lasting trend that has benefited our daily lives. With the growing need for mental health care, services, and products, marketers are presented with a tremendous opportunity to effectively share their message with audiences in need of encouragement, counseling, or support.

People may start turning to search to explore new options in the mental health space. Therefore, brands who want to lend a helping hand and establish a 1:1 connection should utilize data providers such as MNI. These providers are on the forefront of digital messaging, but also appreciate that balance in media messaging is crucial. MNI also offers magazine media solutions that can literally drive messaging home. For more information, please contact us today.


About the Author:

@Janine Pollack, MNI Integrated Marketing Director and self-appointed Storyteller in Chief, leads the brands commitment to generating content that informs and inspires. Prior to MNI, Janine worked with Fortune 500 companies and world-renowned education institutions on numerous research and white papers, podcasts and thought-leadership and education campaigns.