Digitas, the connected marketing agency, has partnered with Project Healthy Minds, a millennial-driven non-profit startup focused on tackling the mental health crisis, which has escalated dramatically since Covid-19.
Digitas worked with Project Healthy Minds to create their visual identity and design and create content for their website
, launching today. To blaze new trails in the mental health and wellness space, Digitas and Project Healthy Minds created the norm-busting, culturally-relevant, relatable site that turns the category on its head.
The personality of the site is rooted in the realities that lead to mental health struggles. It seeks to:
- Help to make it easier to talk about mental health issues to friends/family
- Bring the community together to bond over shared experiences
- Educate people about mental health and direct them to treatment
- Champion empathy for those who struggle with mental health
- Battle ignorance, apathy, harmful stereotypes and haters
The voice and tone is confident, hopeful, vibrant and empowering.
“Mental health has always been a critical issue, but now with Covid-19, it’s become even more urgent that Millennials and Gen-Zers get the support they need. The Digitas team was passionate about working with Project Healthy Minds to address mental health in a new way and help this generation embrace their mental health needs as an integral part of who they are, free from stigma." said Alyse Schwartz, SVP, managing director, Digitas Atlanta
Mental health was already at crisis levels pre-pandemic, with more than 65 million Americans suffering from a mental health condition, yet 60% not wanting to receive support services in the past year. In June, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reported that one in four young adults (18-24-years-old) seriously considered suicide in the past month – which was already the second-leading pre-pandemic cause of death for 10-34-year-olds in America.
“We recruited the leading minds across industries – from the nation’s preeminent doctors to Hollywood executives to White House alumni to technology entrepreneurs to purpose-driven business leaders – because this complex issue demands an interdisciplinary solution,” said Phillip Schermer, founder and CEO of Project Healthy Minds. “My generation has a different cultural understanding of the world and relationship with technology, so it is important that we marry the millennial and Gen-Z perspective with the wisdom of industry leaders. If we do that, we can incubate entirely new solutions to confront this urgent crisis.”
Project Healthy Minds’ two centrepieces will be:
- Building a free, consumer-friendly, one-stop digital referral platform that aims to increase access to care by making it fast and easy to find and navigate available resources.
- Designing a multi-platform anti-stigma campaign featuring culture-makers and influencers.
The launch brings together for the first time a unique group of leaders with deep experience in a wide variety of fields, including physicians, technologists, scientists, corporate leaders, entertainment executives, artists, policymakers, and philanthropists, to launch this new, interdisciplinary social venture.
Project Healthy Minds has formed a working partnership with the National Network of Depression Centres (NNDC), the leading national university consortium on depression. The NNDC will help guide Project Healthy Minds’ work to ensure that the best evidence-based approaches are incorporated into the discovery platform, anti-stigma campaign, and other programmatic initiatives. NNDC’s consortium on depression includes 21 academic institutions, including Harvard, Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, University of Michigan, UCSF, University of Pennsylvania, Weill Cornell, Duke, Emory, University of Texas and more.
“More than two decades after the Surgeon General called on us to reinvent our approach to mental health, we still need a breakthrough program – combining the best of the scientific community with the private sector and philanthropists – to confront this crisis. Project Healthy Minds can be that breakthrough effort,” added Dr. J. Raymond DePaulo Jr., chairman of the National Network of Depression Centres and co-director of the Mood Disorder Centre at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Covid-19 Exacerbates Longstanding Treatment Gap as Depression Rates Skyrocket
A new study published in JAMA
this month found that depression rates have skyrocketed three-fold since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The study also showed that 33% of women reported currently experiencing depression symptoms.
Sabrina Khan, co-founder of Project Healthy Minds, explains: “In just my short lifetime — from 9/11 to school shootings to the financial crisis and now the Covid-19 pandemic — the fragility of our physical, financial and emotional safety has been exposed. This has led to a pervasive sense of anxiety among our generation.” She continues: “What was obvious to me was that there was this huge population of women my age who were dealing with their own mental health journeys alone in the shadows, without spaces or platforms where people could comfortably talk about their issues and find help.”
The JAMA authors noted that: “post-Covid-19 plans should account for the probable increase in mental illness to come, particularly among at-risk populations.” Sukumar Nagendran, MD, board of directors at Solid Biosciences and Project Healthy Minds, said: “I’ve taken on some of society’s most difficult medical challenges. Now I’m focused on bringing together clinical and technological expertise to address the soaring mental health crisis.”
NNDC Partnership to Ensure Evidenced-Based Best Practices Applied To Digital Platform
Over the coming weeks, Project Healthy Minds will be releasing a free, beta tool to simplify finding mental health products and services. The new digital discovery platform is slated for formal release in about one year and will offer a one-stop-shop digital hub that helps people navigate the confusing space of mental health services and connects them with tailored support based on their individual needs.
Dr. John Greden, founding chairman of the National Network of Depression Centres and founder of the world’s first Depression Centre at the University of Michigan, explains: “We have made a tremendous amount of scientific progress over the last two decades, but there are still far too many people who never get help because they’re too embarrassed to ask for it or give up after being frustrated by how confusing it is to find help. That’s why we need the consumer-oriented approach – rooted in a private sector understanding of consumer behaviour, guided by science – that Project Healthy Minds is pioneering.”
Project Will Support Business Efforts to Promote Mental Health in Employees, Society
In addition to the personal toll mental health issues have on young adults, they have a cascading effect on business and society. Depression and anxiety cost businesses $1 trillion every year due to lost productivity, according to the World Health Organisation.
“Over the course of my career, I have worked with visionary business leaders across media, finance, and entertainment. The hallmark of each of them was an uncanny ability to spot emerging trends. What’s clear to me today is that two burgeoning business and cultural trends are about to merge: the stakeholder capitalism movement and the mental health crisis,” said Brian Offutt, chairman of the board of project Healthy Minds and former COO of Combs Enterprises, hip hop star and business icon P. Diddy’s portfolio company of businesses and investments. “Employees are walking into the workplace with a new set of expectations of their employers – making it a business and leadership imperative that companies step up to address the mental health crisis.”