HOW MARKETING HAS HELPED ALLEVIATE THE STIGMA SURROUNDING MENTAL HEALTH
In a world where physical illnesses are given immense attention and mental illnesses are overlooked, even though several public figures have begun sharing their own struggles with mental health, our society still treats mental health issues with hesitation. The stigma around mental health, although reduced, has still not been eradicated completely. Removing this stigma has become quintessential since several people around the world are facing these mental health issues currently.
Mental health is influenced by our surroundings and impacts everyone around the world. Branding and marketing have begun using billboards, scheduled radio broadcasts, and disruptive TV ads to impact the public’s mental health. In the past, the general mental health of a target audience was commonly overlooked. Taking into account the mental state of a group of individuals may now have a direct influence on how well brands work and how desired activities can be accomplished. Marketing has played a pivotal role in alleviating the stigma surrounding mental health over the years. Let us look at how they have made this possible.
1. Changes vocabulary that increases stigma
Owing to marketers around the world, hurtful words such as as “retarded” have stopped being used for describe mentally disabled people. Appropriate words and labels are used by most brands and marketers these days by making themselves aware and educated about these topics. As people repeatedly see these messages, they in turn get influenced as well and remember to use appropriate words while having discussions about mental health. Marketers are uniquely qualified to assist in changing the status quo in the area of language. They can assist the media adjust by removing stigmatized language from social media postings and news releases, advising spokespeople on how to talk about these issues, and advising spokespeople on how to talk about them. It is possible to combat stigma by reminding people that language is important. It is so simple to avoid using mental health illnesses as adjectives.
2. Creates a safe space for people to share their mental status.
We need to normalize talking about our feelings and expressing empathy when others are hurting, whether it’s a situational or diagnosed illness — or just a streak of bad days. People require assurance that their mental illness or clinical diagnosis will not jeopardize their jobs or negatively affect how others perceive them. Creating safe spaces for daring and often unpleasant dialogues requires a dedicated effort. Marketers in the past few years have successfully created this safe space. It has assisted people in openly discussing their mental health.
3. Uses storytelling to talk about difficult topics
The value of storytelling is immense. A narrative strategy, adopted by marketers, makes it easier to talk about topics that haven’t been talked about much in the past. Openly addressing mental health is an important step toward eradicating stigma.
4. Shifts the perception of mental illness and addiction
Marketing has successfully changed the misconception that a mental-health condition is a moral failing. These are illnesses, just like any other, that can be treated. Because of their disorders, a high number of people with mental health issues tend to feel “ashamed” or “out of place in the world.” They are often concerned that if their mental health problem was disclosed, others would believe they were useless or had major character faults. By talking about mental illnesses through campaigns and advertisements openly, marketing has changed this narrative.
5. Advocates equality in the treatment of physical and mental illnesses.
When people learn the genuine facts of mental illness as a disease, they are more hesitant to make judgments. People would never mock someone suffering from physical conditions like diabetes, heart illness, or cancer. Through marketing, importance has been given to mental illnesses as well.
6. Eliminates discriminatory behavior
Mental health conditions should be treated with the same urgency, skill, and compassion as other physical conditions are. However, people still face prejudice due to their mental illnesses. People with these disorders are widely discriminated against and are left alone. Marketing has stepped in here to eliminate such discriminatory behaviour. By depicting mental illnesses in marketing and advertising, people have been made to realize that having a mental illness is actually quite common and that there is nothing to be ashamed about. Those with mental illnesses are also one amongst us and should not be cornered or shunned away.
7. Educates the audience
There exists a vast number of mental illnesses and most people are unaware of even the existence of these illnesses. This poses a huge threat. However, through marketing and the highlighting of several mental illnesses, the audience has been educated about the existence, extent and treatment of mental illnesses which can help in not only removing stigma, but also in identifying a mental illness and putting in efforts to eradicate it.
Although stigma is an issue, it has a clear remedy. Targeting multiple markets can have an influence, as we have seen. Marketing can have a direct beneficial impact on removing stigma. The magnitude of the influence, whether it’s a shift in attitude or acknowledgement, will be determined by the message’s consistency, communication routes, and distribution synchronisation.Furthermore, the level of effect is determined by how receptive the target audience is to the message. The lower degree of acceptability provides an even bigger issue in the case of mental health. These small improvements in removing the stigma around is bound to grow into monumental improvements in the near future with the development of marketing and the influence it has on the minds of the people.
- Pravin Chandan
Reach the Pravin Chandan Team for marketing advice & how-tos.