How brands can meaningfully support Mental Health Awareness Month

June 1, 2022

Written by Haley Corzo

Brands have been called to lead with purpose when it comes to connecting with audiences today, and Mental Health Awareness Month is a time for them to demonstrate that their efforts have real meaning. To be successful at this, brands need to understand how they can be an asset instead of simply jumping on the bandwagon. We found some important lessons that can be learned from one celebrity leading the way. 

Selena Gomez has been an advocate for the de-stigmatization of mental health issues over the years through social media, magazine interviews, and television appearances. On May 18th she collected her words and took to a new platform — the White House.

Along with Dr. Jill Biden, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, and policy advisor Susan Rice, the singer hosted a two-day inaugural forum focused on taking actionable steps in improving mental health for young people. She was one of the most influential people speaking about mental health this year, as we will see later on. 

Mental Health Awareness Month has helped to reduce stigma and educate the public on mental illness since 1979. While we’ve seen societal progression in normalizing mental health conditions, awareness on its own is still only half the battle.

Our research shows that awareness coupled with action is what resonates the most with audiences online, and this year there was clarity on who is standing out in this space, and who is missing altogether.

Selena Gomez’s leads MHAM with awareness and action

Mental Health Awareness Month sees a variety of coverage from publishers online, and naturally an increase in conversations about mental health across social media platforms, but this year’s content revealed two valuable insights. 1. Brands were not breaking through the noise. 2. Selena Gomez was dominating public interest with her efforts.

We should be clear that this doesn’t mean brand initiatives were non-existent, rather that they were not being widely written about or generating much interest on social media. It might also seem trivial to note that Selena Gomez had the most engaged content about mental health, but she was able to capture the most attention by far because her approach was authentic, impactful, and actionable. If brands are to move beyond words and prove that they care about these societal issues, they should look to Gomez for inspiration. 

As part of her makeup brand, Rare Beauty, Gomez has founded the Rare Impact Foundation, which works to give people access to the resources they need to support their mental health. Through this foundation the singer created a “Your Words Matter” educational campaign on Instagram for MHAM, and partnered with Our Place, a women-owned cooking brand, committing to donating 10% of profits from their joint collection to the Rare Impact Fund.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez)

The Our Place partnership and educational campaign have received the most engagement by far of all mental health content on Instagram, with 3.3M and 2.4M respectively. In fact, six out of the top 10 Instagram posts were from Gomez, and they remain the only posts to reach over 1M engagements so far in May. 

While it’s important to note how high engagement was to her content, her efforts in making MHAM more than just an educational moment — but a time to discuss the possible pathways towards solutions — did not go unnoticed.

On her own Instagram, Gomez shared a video from the Mental Health Youth Action Forum she hosted at the White House, but this story generated engagement across various platforms, including Pop Crave (20.7k) and Jill Biden (13.3k) on Twitter, and Gomez’s Facebook page (16k). Publishers such as CNN, USA Today, and TMZ also wrote about the forum, all highlighting that the intent was to aid young people in making a real impact. 

Mental Health Awareness Month is a key time for people to hold authentic conversations around mental health and normalize the struggles that come with different conditions. We still see how much that is valued, especially from athletes such as Naomi Osaka and even global icons like the Royal Family, but we also live in a digital world where awareness can look like nothing more than empty words on social media.

Selena Gomez is an example of someone with a platform that not only reaches the masses, but provides her with the opportunity to turn words into actionable results. With more celebrities and brands being urged to aid in creating change, Gomez’s initiatives during MHAM demonstrate how they can begin to lead the way.

To read more on celebrities that are using their influence to make an impact, check out our Earth Day blog here.

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