The campaign by Havas UK helps raise awareness of Covid-19 frontline workers’ mental health with The Laura Hyde Foundation reporting an 88% rise in those needing immediate, acute care
The UK’s only charity offering mental health support for first responders, The Laura Hyde Foundation, releases campaign made by Havas UK to warn of a looming crisis on the front line of the fight against Covid-19.
The Laura Hyde Foundation has been inundated with calls from nurses, doctors, paramedics and other emergency service workers since the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic. In fact, compared to the same period in 2019, they have experienced an 88% increase in requests for help that require an acute, clinical response. This means that frontline NHS staff are not only experiencing increased rates of stress or anxiety, but they are presenting with serious mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
This new, nationwide campaign aims to raise awareness and appreciation of the mental toll of the outbreak on medical professionals, instead of just the risks to their physical health. Destigmatising the mental health challenges faced by the ‘heroes’ we have built up in national dialogue, it calls for a consistent level of mental health provision for workers in NHS Trusts across the country, to avoid the very real possibility of a postcode lottery in the vital care and support they need.
Titled ‘No Mask for Mental Health’, the campaign features those fighting against Covid-19, reminding the nation that once lockdown lifts, and the risks of catching the disease begin to fall, life doesn’t simply go back to normal for those who’ve worked tirelessly to care for others under the most difficult circumstances.
Created pro bono by a collaborative of multiple Havas UK agencies, it includes film, digital, out of home, a major PR launch and a specially-built virtual mask for social.
The film, produced in adherence to the APA’s recommendation as per government guidelines, features participants that have been selected to represent all kinds of healthcare professionals, not just doctors and nurses. They are seen in the middle of a busy shift, looking straight into the camera, caught in a moment in time. But all is not well behind the mask. The sounds of life around them gradually fade as the camera zooms in on their eyes and we hear their inner voice.
It was directed by Kevin Thomas through Thomas Thomas, with grading by Electric Theatre Collective, audio by Factory Studios and editing by Quarry.
Social media filters for both Instagram and Snapchat – which built the Snap Lens for free – have been created for selfie-mode, which places a virtual mask featuring an inverted ‘rainbow smile’ over the user’s face. These filters offer people a chance to show their support for ‘the carers who care for us’. The filter also connects them to The Laura Hyde Foundation website providing information about the charity, how to get involved with their work and where to donate.
The Havas agencies which have collaborated on the campaign include Havas London (creative), Cake and Ekino (social, lenses and filters), Havas Media (who negotiated significant pro-bono media) as well as PR companies Cicero, Red Havas, Maitland and One Green Bean. Mark Whelan, chief creative officer of Havas UK, says: “Mobilising the (virtual) HKX community behind this amazing charity has been an incredible experience. Everybody put their hand up, and everybody put their heart and soul into it.”
Jennifer Hawkins, clinical lead at The Laura Hyde Foundation, commented: “Healthcare staff everywhere have been really touched by all the love they’ve been getting from the public but the label ‘hero’ can, at times, put them under even greater pressure. The harsh reality of their work is having a significant impact on mental health - and we must make it ok for medical professionals not to suffer in silence; to prescribe for themselves what they would prescribe for others and ask for help.”
“Ideally, The Laura Hyde Foundation wouldn’t have to exist,” adds charity trustee, Imogen Landers. “Unfortunately, there is no PPE for the mind - and there are NHS and frontline workers whose Trusts simply cannot provide adequately for them. Until they do, and the stigma surrounding mental health is removed, we’ll be there.” She continues: “That’s why we’re calling on the government to ensure every NHS Trust in the country can deliver acute mental health care at the point of need. Our frontline workers are giving it everything, so should we.”