Mental Health and Media Relations: Spreading Awareness and Improving Access to Care

Author

Normalizing neurodiversity and battling the stigma against mental illnesses takes care and compassion. As the parent of a child with anxiety and a husband with ADD, I’m passionate about bringing these conversations out of the shadows and normalizing the discussion around mental health–spreading awareness and improving access to the care and services that people need.  

While the public conversation around mental health has improved in recent years, people with a mental health issue still face stigma and discrimination, and many suffer from lack of access to care. At Inspire Agency, we bring passion and years of experience in talking about mental health, pitching the media, and helping companies and organizations working in this field further the conversation. 

First and foremost, people need to hear and understand how common mental health issues are in the U.S. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness: 

  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year 
  • 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year 
  • 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year 
  • 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24 
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-14 

These issues have been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic and the toll it took on people’s mental well-being across the globe. Part of understanding this issue is understanding the social determinants of mental well-being. This includes factors such as employment, social support networks, physical environment, education, socioeconomic status, and healthcare access. 

So many companies work in these areas and have mental well-being as part of their mission and the larger movement around addressing mental health. Through media relations, we’ve help companies and organizations amplify their messages and increase community awareness.  

Inspire Agency is working with a large, leading mental health provider in the Mid-Atlantic that is passionate about improving access and removing barriers to care, ensuring that people have hope. We carefully work with our client’s patients and help tell their stories of hope in finding accessible mental health care. We don’t take this role lightly—they are trusting us and inviting us into their lives.  

When we worked with a leading children’s hospital in Baltimore, we were working with families whose children were facing severe feeding disorders. We feel honored that these moms and dads invited us into their homes, so we could hear the struggles their child faces each day and how through our client’s feeding disorder program, their child is on the road to thriving and not just surviving. Having worked with the American Psychological Association in the past on its psychologically healthy workplace program, we saw first-hand how crucial it was for workplaces to create safe havens for their employees, too. 

We’ve helped organizations succeed by understanding the language needed to talk about mental health and successfully pitching the media to cover these inspiring stories. Bringing light to mental health issues and spotlighting available tools to help patients succeed needs more than having the right story angle to gain coverage. It’s about connecting to your target audience in a meaningful way through relatable stories that also illuminate and build your brand. 

This often comes from personal testimonials, and getting those stories told takes empathy, dignity and respect. It can be intimidating talking to a reporter about personal mental health issues, even a reporter that has good “bedside manner” and a sympathetic approach. We understand how to prepare patients and providers to talk confidently about their story, and how to connect with conscientious reporters. 

The more stories are told, the more the stigma is diminished. The more tools and resources that can be highlighted, the easier it is for people to find the help they need. In a day and time when mental health should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind, we are a communications firm that can accelerate the positive movements around mental health. 

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