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Mental Health Awareness Month Sparks Meaningful Initiatives & Messaging From Major Brands

May 12, 2021 Carolyn Harding

Shutterstock_558962893 Young sad mad sitting by the window in regret

The events of the last year have led many consumers to prioritize their mental health, as they grappled with added stress and uncertainty. According to the Aetna Mental Health Pulse Survey 2021, “65% of Americans ages 18 to 34 have had concerns about their own mental health or that of household members, family or friends since the outbreak [of COVID-19].” Similarly, a recent survey from the CDC found “42% of respondents reported anxiety or depression symptoms.”

With almost one in five U.S. adults “living with a mental illness” today, more and more people are investing in their mental health. Now, as Mental Health Awareness Month is in full swing, brands and platforms like Pinterest, CVS, Victoria’s Secret and Pair Of Thieves are launching new mental health and wellness initiatives and offerings that resonate with audiences looking to better themselves and connect with brands that reflect their growing priorities.

Pinterest Adds New Features As Mental Health-Related Searches Spike On Platform

Pinterest is connecting with its 478 million users during Mental Health Awareness Month by introducing a number of new initiatives and platform features, including:

  • Charitable Donations: Pinterest will donate $10 million throughout the next year to organizations supporting mental health, with a primary focus “on funding organizations that are looking to tackle racial and other disparities in access.”
  • Expanded Mental Health Content: Broadening its current hub of resources related to mental health, Pinterest will include additional relevant content within the “Today Tab.” This content will be inclusive of its “Self-Help Tool,” which was introduced in 2019 to “provide immediate relief for those experiencing mental distress.”
  • #HalfTheStory Collaboration: Pinterest will work with #HalfTheStory, a nonprofit organization created to “empower the next generation’s relationship with tech through advocacy, education, research.” Together, the two platforms will “raise awareness of digital impacts and concerns related to mental health.”
  • Celebrity Partnership: Popular singer Bebe Rexha will bring additional attention to Pinterest’s Mental Health Awareness Month efforts by promoting her own “Story Pins,” detailing her personal experience with mental health and how she has used it as inspiration within her music.

Pinterest shared that user searches related to mental health – including “mental well-being quotes,” “mental health challenge” and more – spiked over the past year. “We know that Pinners are 20% more likely than the rest of the population to have mental and emotional well-being top of mind during COVID-19, and beyond the pandemic these numbers are expected to increase,” the social platform shared on its site. According to Pinterest, in 2021, “searches for mental health awareness month are 2.5x greater” compared to 2020.

CVS Expands Mental Health Services Within Stores

Just in time for Mental Health Awareness Month, CVS announced the expansion of its behavioral health pilot program, which connects customers with licensed therapists for counseling and therapy sessions within select CVS HealthHUB locations. Through the offering, customers (18 years and older) can arrange appointments with participating therapists and social workers, who can “provide behavioral assessments, referrals and on-the-spot counseling.” RetailWire’s Tom Ryan notes, “The [CVS mental health] program is designed to help make such services more accessible and affordable to the public, with an expected side benefit of reducing overall healthcare costs.”

The CVS program, which is currently available in three states, will expand to 34 states by July 2021, and, according to Ryan, is “targeting diverse communities where mental health care isn’t readily available.” The CVS mental health counseling landing page encourages consumers to schedule appointments in person or through a telehealth option, writing “At participating MinuteClinic locations, our licensed therapists are trained to help support you as you work through your challenges. From mental health assessments to confidential counseling sessions, we are here to help support you.”

Victoria’s Secret PINK Creates Virtual Mental Health Event For Gen Z Audience

Victoria’s Secret PINK partnered with The Jed Foundation (a nonprofit that “protects emotional health and prevents suicide for teens and young adults in the United States”) for a virtual event, specifically targeted at Gen Z, called “Make Your Move Fest.” The month-long event features performances, social media challenges and meaningful discussions surrounding mental health and more.

PINK is also relying on social media to gain attention and consumer interaction. Using the hashtag #MakeYourMove, PINK is asking consumers to “show how they are taking actions – or making moves – that support their mental health.” Participants can share their posts to TikTok or Twitter, with each post resulting in a $1 donation from PINK to The Jed Foundation (capping at $250,000). Consumers can discover more about the partnership and find ways to participate by visiting the PINK Make Your Move Fest microsite or the Mental Health Month landing page on the Victoria’s Secret website.

“This past year has been a reminder that mental health impacts every aspect of our lives, especially for young adults who reported concerning increases in stress, anxiety and hopelessness,” said Courtney Knowles, senior advisor for The Jed Foundation. “Starting conversations about the simple, proactive actions we can take – or moves we can make – to support our mental health can be life-changing for so many people, communities and campuses.”

Pair Of Thieves Connects With College Students Through Mental Health TikTok Challenge

Apparel company Pair of Thieves joined in on the TikTok #DanceYourSocksOffChallenge, a Mental Health Awareness Month initiative created by college students across the country to bring awareness to the importance of mental health. The TikTok challenge promotes the benefits of dance and movement, as both have proven to positively impact self-esteem, stress levels, anxiety and more. To support the cause, Pair of Thieves vowed to donate $5 for every video submission (for the first 10,000 videos) shared to either TikTok or Instagram.

“In our current unique and isolated times, it is more critical than ever to understand and prioritize mental health, spark difficult conversations and erase the stigma around seeking help,” said Alan Stuart, Pair of Thieves co-founder.

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About the Author

Carolyn Harding

Carolyn Harding is an Associate Manager of Communications at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest-growing independent digital performance marketing company. DMS helps its clients accelerate growth by deploying diversified and data-driven customer acquisition solutions that deliver scalable, sustainable and measurable marketing results. DMS performance marketing solutions connect the right consumers with the right offers at the right time to achieve the marketing objectives of our clients. DMS is continually innovating to provide new and emerging media and technology solutions that minimize waste and maximize results across the most competitive industries. Since its inception, DMS has demonstrated incredible year-over-year growth which has earned recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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