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Giving a Voice to Mental Health

Giving a Voice to Mental Health

Patricia Murphy

Patricia Murphy

October 15, 2019

Havas New York’s Alexis De Montaigu on how the “Speak Your Mind” campaign showcased the effectiveness of the Havas Village model.

"Without mental health there is no physical health"

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that every 40 seconds someone takes their own life, yet countries spend less than 2% of their health budgets targeting mental health on average.

It is this devastating reality that inspired Havas New York and Havas Lynx to team up with United for Global Mental Health to launch “Speak Your Mind,” a campaign to drive political change.

Ahead of World Mental Health Day (October 10), the campaign urged people to spark up a global conversation by pledging their support through powerful 40-second audio and video messages, with a goal of galvanizing governments to make collective change.

Alexis De Montaigu, Co-Head of Strategic Planning at Havas New York, speaks about how the campaign gives voice to mental health and highlights the power of the Havas Village model.

 

Tell us a little about how this campaign came about. What was the brief from the client?

The development of this campaign has followed an unconventional path. Tom Richards (CCO of Havas Lynx), Doug Tetreau (Associate Creative Director at Annex88), and I first spent two days in South Africa with mental health experts and policymakers from 15 different countries to better understand the challenges that mental health was facing around the world. At the end of the conference, we presented to the entire audience what we thought was the brief and strategy: To develop the first global campaign that would bring greater action by empowering citizens to speak their minds about mental health and directly call out their leaders.

How did the collaboration between Havas New York and Havas Lynx come about and how did it add strength to the campaign?

The campaign was real proof that the Havas Village model works. Teaming up two offices initially helped us bring different creative ideas to the client. Once the big idea was formulated and the main activation ideas selected, it was also a way for Havas to execute the campaign much more efficiently, with each office working on different deliverables. This campaign was a true demonstration of our network.

Globally, someone dies by suicide every 40 seconds and yet countries spend less than 2% of their health budgets on mental health—was this surprising to you?

This was an astonishing statistic for me. In essence, every 40 seconds we are losing human potential. Now that we are aware of the inextricable relationship between mind and body, we should invest in mental health as much as we do in physical health. Without mental health there is no physical health. This statistic was so powerful that we knew we had to leverage it. That’s why our manifesto film is 40 seconds long, as are the pledge segments for the audio petition.

 

"The goal is to create a global conversation on mental health"

The campaign included an exhibition that launched in London called the Museum of Lost and Found Potential, which showcased items from people with mental health issues. How did this elevate “Speak Your Mind”?

The “Speak your Mind” campaign is about giving a voice to mental health and giving a megaphone to people who live or have lived through the experience. Creating a museum of objects from people who’ve battled with their own mental health issues was a way for us to elevate these voices and to show that society at large gains from investing more in mental health.

The “Speak Your Mind” campaign calls for people to pledge their support through 40-second audio and video messages—why did you think this would have the greatest impact?

As the campaign is about giving a voice to mental health, we wanted to encourage people to literally speak their minds on mental health and pledge their support. These 40-second messages are designed to bring attention to what is still a taboo topic in many countries. They are personalized voice recordings that call on governments to act on mental health, while also acknowledging the WHO’s estimate that every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres posted his “Speak your Mind” audio pledge on World Mental Health Day, which highlighted the importance and impact of this campaign.

Zak Williams, the son of the late actor Robin Williams, is featured in this campaign. Why was he the right fit for “Speak Your Mind”?

The main reason we picked Zak Williams is because he is a mental health advocate and he believed in the thinking and strategy behind the campaign. He is someone who has been speaking his mind when it comes to putting mental health at the top of the agenda. He’s also an incredible human being who genuinely wanted to support this campaign.

What was the idea behind the living logo?

The living logo, which is at the heart of the campaign, grows as people pledge their support through the online voice petition. The goal is to create a global conversation on mental health by collecting galvanizing stories from around the world and then amplifying them, so governments hear that collective change is needed. It is the first logo that actually reacts to the volume of conversation on mental health.

A huge motivation of the campaign is to drive government action. How do you think this campaign will affect those with the power to change?

This campaign will hopefully make leaders realize not only that mental health is something that affects millions of people around the world directly or indirectly but also that there is immense value to gain from taking action. From the Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Global CEO of HSBC, a lot of people in power know that investing in mental health can constitute a major competitive advantage for countries or corporations.

"Without mental health there is no physical health"

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that every 40 seconds someone takes their own life, yet countries spend less than 2% of their health budgets targeting mental health on average.

It is this devastating reality that inspired Havas New York and Havas Lynx to team up with United for Global Mental Health to launch “Speak Your Mind,” a campaign to drive political change.

Ahead of World Mental Health Day (October 10), the campaign urged people to spark up a global conversation by pledging their support through powerful 40-second audio and video messages, with a goal of galvanizing governments to make collective change.

Alexis De Montaigu, Co-Head of Strategic Planning at Havas New York, speaks about how the campaign gives voice to mental health and highlights the power of the Havas Village model.

 

Tell us a little about how this campaign came about. What was the brief from the client?

The development of this campaign has followed an unconventional path. Tom Richards (CCO of Havas Lynx), Doug Tetreau (Associate Creative Director at Annex88), and I first spent two days in South Africa with mental health experts and policymakers from 15 different countries to better understand the challenges that mental health was facing around the world. At the end of the conference, we presented to the entire audience what we thought was the brief and strategy: To develop the first global campaign that would bring greater action by empowering citizens to speak their minds about mental health and directly call out their leaders.

How did the collaboration between Havas New York and Havas Lynx come about and how did it add strength to the campaign?

The campaign was real proof that the Havas Village model works. Teaming up two offices initially helped us bring different creative ideas to the client. Once the big idea was formulated and the main activation ideas selected, it was also a way for Havas to execute the campaign much more efficiently, with each office working on different deliverables. This campaign was a true demonstration of our network.

Globally, someone dies by suicide every 40 seconds and yet countries spend less than 2% of their health budgets on mental health—was this surprising to you?

This was an astonishing statistic for me. In essence, every 40 seconds we are losing human potential. Now that we are aware of the inextricable relationship between mind and body, we should invest in mental health as much as we do in physical health. Without mental health there is no physical health. This statistic was so powerful that we knew we had to leverage it. That’s why our manifesto film is 40 seconds long, as are the pledge segments for the audio petition.

 

"The goal is to create a global conversation on mental health"

The campaign included an exhibition that launched in London called the Museum of Lost and Found Potential, which showcased items from people with mental health issues. How did this elevate “Speak Your Mind”?

The “Speak your Mind” campaign is about giving a voice to mental health and giving a megaphone to people who live or have lived through the experience. Creating a museum of objects from people who’ve battled with their own mental health issues was a way for us to elevate these voices and to show that society at large gains from investing more in mental health.

The “Speak Your Mind” campaign calls for people to pledge their support through 40-second audio and video messages—why did you think this would have the greatest impact?

As the campaign is about giving a voice to mental health, we wanted to encourage people to literally speak their minds on mental health and pledge their support. These 40-second messages are designed to bring attention to what is still a taboo topic in many countries. They are personalized voice recordings that call on governments to act on mental health, while also acknowledging the WHO’s estimate that every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres posted his “Speak your Mind” audio pledge on World Mental Health Day, which highlighted the importance and impact of this campaign.

Zak Williams, the son of the late actor Robin Williams, is featured in this campaign. Why was he the right fit for “Speak Your Mind”?

The main reason we picked Zak Williams is because he is a mental health advocate and he believed in the thinking and strategy behind the campaign. He is someone who has been speaking his mind when it comes to putting mental health at the top of the agenda. He’s also an incredible human being who genuinely wanted to support this campaign.

What was the idea behind the living logo?

The living logo, which is at the heart of the campaign, grows as people pledge their support through the online voice petition. The goal is to create a global conversation on mental health by collecting galvanizing stories from around the world and then amplifying them, so governments hear that collective change is needed. It is the first logo that actually reacts to the volume of conversation on mental health.

A huge motivation of the campaign is to drive government action. How do you think this campaign will affect those with the power to change?

This campaign will hopefully make leaders realize not only that mental health is something that affects millions of people around the world directly or indirectly but also that there is immense value to gain from taking action. From the Prime Minister of New Zealand to the Global CEO of HSBC, a lot of people in power know that investing in mental health can constitute a major competitive advantage for countries or corporations.

Patricia Murphy is a content creator with a background in digital health and lifestyle journalism. She loves to chat and tell stories.

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