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CCG in partnership creates an anti-stigma communications campaign to support young people with mental health needs, receiving support on social media from across the world

Value in Healthcare Awards 2017 / Communication
Highly Commended


    • An estimated 2,795 children and young people in Brighton and Hove aged 5-16 years have a mental health disorder
    • Remove mental health stigma and encourage young people to be open about mental health difficulties
    • Create awareness through national and regional media coverage and social media


    • Created the #IAMWHOLE anti-stigma communications campaign
    • Partnered with a global music star Jordan Stephens and used his music track about mental health as a core campaign asset
    • Used the #IAMWHOLE circle as the campaign symbol
    • Created a hit list of influencers and celebrities to support the campaign
    • Developed campaign branded clothing


    • Campaign created a global social media anti-stigma support movement with reach of 17 million and media coverage reach of over 121 million
    • #IAMWHOLE became the most used hashtag on World Mental Health Day for mental health conversations

#IAMWHOLE is an anti-stigma communications campaign created for World Mental Health Day 10th October 2016 by NHS CCG Brighton and Hove and Spirit Media with support from YMCA. Aimed at young people, #IAMWHOLE was fronted by UK music star Jordan Stephens and supported by the likes of Ed Sheeran, James Corden, Dermot O’Leary.

It saw the first NHS campaign feature in a music video for Jordan’s track ‘whole’ and a significant national research report. The campaign created a global social media anti-stigma support movement with reach of 17 million and media coverage reach of over 121 million.


Our challenges were as follows:

•Brighton and Hove’s Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Needs Assessment was published by Brighton and Hove’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and City Council in February 2016 and clearly identified the mental health and wellbeing needs of the 0-25 age group and the extent to which these were being met.

The report identified two risk factors as of particular relevance and importance in the city which led directly to the commissioning of a new mental health communications campaign by the CCG, to be launched on World Mental Health Day, 10 October 2016:

•Age – Nationally, one in 10 children aged 5-16 years has a diagnosable mental health problem and 50% of lifetime cases of diagnosable mental illness begin by age 14. A higher proportion of the Brighton and Hove population are aged 20-25 years (13%) compared with England (8%) or the rest of the South East (7%).

•Males - Boys are more likely to have a mental health disorder than girls. 10% of 5-10 year-old boys and 5% of girls have a mental disorder and 13% of 11-16 year-old boys and 10% of girls. In Brighton and Hove, boys outnumber girls in the population until the age of 15 to 25 years when the trend reverses.

•There are an estimated 2,795 children and young people in Brighton and Hove aged 5-16 years with a mental health disorder according to the National Child and Maternal Health Intelligence Network (CHIMAT) Services Snapshot.


The key actions and objectives behind the campaign were:

1.Create public behaviour change – remove mental health stigma and encourage young people, particularly young men, to be open about mental health difficulties and to seek help if they or someone they know needs it.

2.Drive awareness and understanding through widespread positive national and regional media coverage and social media sharing of campaign materials and the key message of ‘normalising’ mental health difficulties to a mainly young audience.

3.Create a communications campaign for the city of Brighton and Hove that represents efficient and effective use of local CCG funding and value for money but that also has national relevance and appeal for the wider NHS and public sector

4.Raise awareness and use of a new mental health service directory website for young people created by YMCA Right Here (a mental health project based in Brighton and Hove) that includes service user reviews, feedback and peer-to-peer advice


In terms of results, #IAMWHOLE achieved the following:

1.Create public behaviour change and remove mental health stigma: The #IAMWHOLE campaign created an outpouring of support and engagement with the anti-stigma message on social media from across the world. #IAMWHOLE was trending on Twitter on World Mental Health Day by 9am and trended all day. The #IAMWHOLE hashtag has become the second recommended phrase on Google search by typing ‘#ia’. The campaign saw #IAMWHOLE circle selfies being posted in countries across the globe, including in Australia, Argentina, France, USA, Estonia and Belgium. #IAMWHOLE became the most used hashtag on World Mental Health Day for mental health conversations, with many using it independently of the campaign to talk about mental health. Most importantly, #IAMWHOLE gave thousands of young people, a platform to talk publically about their own mental health struggles, many for the first time.

Jordan personally received messages via social media detailing how his involvement in the campaign had inspired individuals who had suffered in silence to finally seek professional support. A huge number of influencers also organically took part. James Arthur mentioned the campaign live on the X Factor results show the night before launch. Musician Liam Gallagher’s #IAMWHOLE circle selfie generated an additional news story of its own via NME and Downton Abbey actress Michelle Dockery’s selfie @theladydockers has generated 18.3k likes on Instagram. ‘Game of Thrones’ actor Sam Coleman, Sky 1 TV presenter Jessie Pavelka and TV presenter Denise Welch also posted support throughout the day, as did the Minister for Mental Health, Edward Timpson MP and Heath Secretary Jeremy Hunt (who also requested a ministerial visit to Brighton that week).

2.Awareness through media coverage and social media: Media: The campaign achieved 222 pieces of coverage with an audience reach of over 120 million people (121,067,744) and an advertising value equivalent of £534,180. All coverage was positive in sentiment which is rare for NHS mental health stories. Broadcast included: Sky News, BBC Breakfast, BBC Inside Out (3 UK regions), Radio 1 Newsbeat, Sunday Brunch, Channel 5, ITV News and Good Morning Britain. Online included: LADBible (exclusive content package), Huffington Post, Mirror, Mail Online and BBC Online. Print included: The Sun, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Evening Standard. All news networks in Brighton and Sussex covered the story. It was also picked up on news networks globally in Canada and Australia.

Social media: On Twitter, #IAMWHOLE has achieved to date a 16.2 million reach, 57.2 million potential impressions and 14,100 tweets from 9,110 contributors. On YouTube, Facebook and the LADBible website, the campaign achieved 1 million organic earned views of the campaign and music video during October 2016 (1m paid-for views on YouTube and Facebook alone would have cost approx £60k). On Instagram, the campaign hashtag was used 6,434 times with many people using it to speak out about their own mental health struggles for the first time.

On Facebook the #IAMWHOLE hashtag was used by 87,322 people. The total return = media coverage and video views with an equivalent paid-for value of £594,180 CPM figure (cost per thousand people reached by #IAMWHOLE media coverage and social media) = 35p (compared to the UK PR industry target CPM of between £2-£6 per 1000 for a national campaign and £10-£12 for a regional one). “The campaign results are impressive!” Campaign Manager, Prime Minister’s Campaign Office

3.Create a communications campaign for Brighton and Hove that also has national relevance and appeal for the wider NHS and public sector. The #IAMWHOLE campaign was supported by a number of public sector organisations, both within Brighton and Hove and nationally. Brighton and Hove’s City Council and YMCA’s Right Here project were so passionate about the campaign that they became campaign partners. YMCA England also became a partner commissioning and funding the I AM WHOLE research report, as well as implementing media relations and putting CEO Denise Hatton up as a national media spokesperson. NHS England fully supported the campaign both internally and externally, putting up national mental health lead, Tim Kendall, as a national spokesperson. The campaign was also directly supported by the following: Sussex Police, East Sussex Fire Brigade, CCGs, NHS community services and CAMHS teams across the country.

#IAMWHOLE was referred to and congratulated during a Backbench Business debate on Young People and Mental Health in the House of Commons on 27 October – “I want to pay tribute to a brilliant piece of work that was recently published by the YMCA in partnership with the NHS. Called ‘I Am Whole’…” Helen Hayes MP. Finally, the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, arranged to visit Cardinal Newman Secondary School in Hove after seeing #IAMWHOLE on the day of launch, to meet staff, students and commissioners involved in the #IAMWHOLE campaign. Mr Hunt said: “I’ve been struck by the compassion and intelligence of staff and pupils and the genuine desire to work with local services to break down the stigma of mental health issues and ensure that everyone gets the support they need.”

4.Raise awareness and use of All campaign materials supported the launch of new website To date (2 months after launch), the website has had 57,452 page views and mental health services in 22 locations have signed up to add their services to the site’s online directory.


The total investment behind the #IAMWHOLE campaign was £42,500 (excluding the cost of time dedicated to the campaign by in-house CCG, YMCA and Brighton & Hove City Council staff.) £35,000 funding from the CCG paid for the campaign concept, production of three videos, social media and PR strategy development and implementation, infographics and Anti-Stigma Challenge resources, liaison with Jordan Stephens and high-profile supporters. £7,500 funding from YMCA England paid for nationwide Youthsight research and the publication of an ‘I am whole’ report.

In detail

Data, insights and research and a budget of £35k informed the whole of the campaign strategy. Insight told us that the most effective way to reach young people with a message is through music. Almost half (47%) of 16-34 year olds listen to 3-6 hours of music a day with more young people watching their music on YouTube (64%) than listening to the radio (56%).

Getting involved is also very important, with 52% having shared articles/their opinions on social media to show their backing for a social issue/cause. The campaign strategy was to develop an influencer-led, multi-layered communications campaign that would drive behaviour change and create a social media movement that put our anti-stigma message at the heart of youth culture. The campaign would be ‘born in Brighton’ but drive huge participation, media coverage, shareability and influence at scale on a national level.

To authentically speak to young people, we put a partnership with a young musician at the heart of the strategy. In order for the campaign to reach multiple audiences, we had to create as many tactics and campaign ‘layers’ as possible. We created the following: Partnership with a global music star Spirit Media created a partnership with Jordan Stephens – a global music star who grew up in Brighton, is one half of hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks and also is diagnosed with ADHD.

We used Jordan’s music track about mental health (called ‘Whole’) as a core campaign asset. The #IAMWHOLE circle Spirit took inspiration directly from ‘Whole’s lyrics “I’m going round in circles” and co-created the powerful and sharable campaign symbol - the #IAMWHOLE circle - with Jordan. Circles also featured throughout the campaign and music video, including at a press preview event in the circular British Airways i360 in Brighton. Creation of the first NHS music video featuring a pop star To reach young people through video content, Spirit created the music video for ‘Whole’ - the first music video to contain an NHS campaign and a global music star.

Filmed in and around Brighton and Hove, the video features Jordan Stephens alongside young local case studies with lived experience of mental health difficulties. Watch the music video here: Influencer engagement plan We created a hit list of influencers and celebrities to support the campaign and gave them several ways they could do so.

In total, we secured support from the following at no cost/fee: James Corden, Dermot O’Leary; Ed Sheeran; Adele Roberts (Radio 1) ; Faye Marsay (Game of Thrones); Sean Teale (actor, ‘Skins’); Jamal Edwards (internet entrepreneur); Dom Joly (comedian); Hussain Manawer (mental health ambassador); Miquita Oliver (TV presenter); James Arthur (pop star); Sinead Hartnett (singer); Harley Alexander-Sule (pop star); and Russell Kane (comedian). Campaign video We created a short campaign video led by Jordan and featuring a number of our high profile-supporters.

Watch the campaign video: Nationwide research report The campaign also conducted research into young people’s attitudes to mental health sigma by partnering with YMCA England. A 44-page report was sent to media and Government. It included personal stories of young people affected by mental health difficulties in their own words.

Extracts from over 100 case study interviews were also published on YMCA’s website. New mental health services directory website The CCG commissioned YMCA’s Right Here project (based in Brighton) to create a new mental health service directory designed by young people for young people and we used the site as a direct call to action for the campaign. Stakeholder preview launch event - live music performance in the British Airways i360.

We launched #IAMWHOLE with Jordan performing the campaign song ‘Whole’ live for the first time, 450ft up in the air, in Brighton’s new i360 – the world’s tallest moving observation tower. Brighton & Hove’s Mayor, Brighton Council members, Sussex NHS services, YMCA England and Right Here all attended along with Public Health representatives, Sussex Police and young people from local schools, colleges and universities.

18 journalists also attended, including BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat, and Jordan participated in over three hours’ of media interviews. Sixth Form college students made this film at the event: Campaign branded clothing To tap into an existing fashion trend for slogan sweatshirts, we created campaign T-shirts and sweatshirts personally designed by Jordan which we distributed to stakeholders and supporters ahead of the campaign launch.

Anti-stigma schools and colleges workshop and worksheet Our ‘I AM WHOLE’ research told us that four in five (81%) of those who believe stigma exists said school is the best place to combat it. The CCG commissioned an event for over 100 young people from schools and colleges all over Brighton and Hove at the Amex football stadium before the campaign launch.

Our campaign implementation plan included a variety of communication tactics to ensure we packed the biggest and most impactful punch in Brighton and Hove and nationally for the campaign on World Mental Health Day. #IAMWHOLE social media strategy Our social media strategy included a Thunderclap campaign supported by organisations such as Sussex Police, NHS England, YMCA and Sussex Councils. The social media movement was kicked off by our celebrity supporters and continued throughout October with a series of campaign infographics.

#IAMWHOLE media relations strategy Our ambitious media relations plan was carefully crafted to ensure we reached all sectors of the media. We executed a broadcast media day in London on World Mental Health Day itself and had influential spokespeople available for interview including Jordan Stephens, Denise Hatton (YMCA CEO), Tim Kendall (National Clinical Director for Mental Health, NHS England), Cat Dyson (YMCA Right Here Project Manager) and case studies of young people who star in the music and campaign video.

We worked closely with BBC South East’s Health Editor, Mark Norman, who filmed the making of the music video. #IAMWHOLE stakeholder relations strategy We embarked on an ambitious stakeholder relations plan all across the public sector to rally support for the campaign, both at a local, regional and national level.

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