Top 6 Mental Health Campaigns & What You Can Learn From Them

How can you make sure your mental health campaign gets your message across in a meaningful, impactful and lasting way? Here are the 6 best ideas to inspire you.
Fanbytes | Top 6 Mental Health Campaigns And What You Can Learn From Them

In 30 seconds:

  • Prioritising mental health should be ingrained in brand culture. But how can brands make a positive difference through mental health marketing campaigns?
  • A successful mental health campaign adds to the conversation, celebrates different viewpoints and supports recognised mental health resources.
  • We’re sharing innovative mental health campaigns to help inspire your brand – for World Mental Health day and all year round.

Mental Health Awareness Week and Month are in May, and World Mental Health Day is 10th October. But while it’s helpful to have given dates to centre conversations, promoting mental health should always be a priority.

Generation Z (young people aged 10 – 25) are the most likely generation to report mental illness or mental health conditions. That’s partly down to the fact young people are more open to talking about mental health; but it’s also because a large portion of teens feel mental strain as a result of the coronavirus pandemic

Brands connecting with younger audiences can lift their spirits, though – after all, this is exactly why so many young people have flocked to TikTok. And even better, brands can support this demographic through an innovative mental health campaign.

 Here are some of our favourite mental health campaigns to inspire you.

Mental health campaigns for Gen Z

Looking for the best mental health campaign ideas? Here’s where to start. Gen Z are way ahead when it comes to openness about mental health. Creating a mental health campaign that resonates with this young audience can not only create a positive difference, but also will transform your relationship with your wider market.

Are you ready to stand for something powerful? Here are the best mental health campaign ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

1. JanSport – Lighten the load

Backpack brand JanSport discovered that 7 out of 10 young people find their mental health is ‘weighing them down’, and only half of Gen Z felt they could adequately measure their stress. 3 in 10 of their Gen Z audience said they felt anxious or nervous almost every day.

The brand responded with an insight-led mission: when it comes to a mental health crisis, if you’re not sharing it, it’s a greater burden. JanSport’s ‘Lighten the Load’ campaign encouraged young people to talk openly about mental health issues. Throughout Mental Health Awareness Month, JanSport hosted weekly Instagram Live conversations with mental health professionals and experts, where young people could take part. Furthermore, JanSport spread the message on TikTok with a light-hearted challenge: participants videoed themselves taking off their (real and metaphorical) backpacks with the hashtag #LightenTheLoad.

Why it worked:

JanSport’s research threw a spotlight on their target audience – Gen Z – to uncover what was important to them. Even before the pandemic, Gen Z was reporting high levels of loneliness, and as 2020 rolled on, JanSport were able to be there for their customers during lockdown. Their mix of providing access to expert support, plus a fun TikTok challenge meant that Gen Z could easily connect with their message and receive help.

2. Young Minds – Wise Up

Young Minds is a charitable organisation that offers mental health support for young people in the UK. Their campaign, ‘Wise Up’ was spurred by findings on mental health in schools. For example, Young Minds found that in the last 5 years, 90% of school leavers have reported an increase in the number of students experiencing anxiety, stress, low mood or depression. 

Young Minds’ campaign focuses on increasing awareness of mental health issues in schools. The ad campaign demonstrates the imbalance between schools’ prioritisation of academic achievement versus mental health care. Its campaign sought to encourage schools to put funding towards mental wellbeing initiatives. The charity also requested signatures from the public supporting its request that Ofsted (the Government’s school inspection body) assess schools’ attention to mental health.

Why it worked:

Young Mind’s ‘Wise Up’ campaign was supported by rich insights on mental health in schools. It identified triggers (from exam pressure to bullying) and delivered a campaign with a message that hit home. Since the campaign, the charity delivered an open letter of 10,000 signatures to the Prime Minister and launched a Wise Up report in parliament. Over 40 MPs showed their support. They also entered talks with Ofsted to address what schools can do to support young people’s mental wellbeing.

3. Decca Records, AURORA - You Can Cry

Decca Records’ music marketing campaign for artist AURORA’s new single ‘The River’ spread a message around mental health awareness. The song is about allowing yourself to cry and giving yourself freedom to express your emotions. Decca came to Fanbytes looking for a fresh way to reach a new audience and build a new fan community around AURORA and her new release.

Fanbytes knew the best method for this goal was to create a TikTok challenge around the mental health messages of the song. We could see that mental health was becoming one of the more popular topics on TikTok, so content spreading mental health awareness would resonate well. However, the challenge also needed to be relevant, fun and easy to replicate to get people to join. We came up with the #YouCanCryChallenge, which saw TikTokers showing their raw emotions, before stepping back and joining hands with others via TikTok’s duet feature.

Why it worked:

In Fanbytes CEO Timothy Armoo’s words, TikTok was the best choice for the campaign, as this is “where people can be their real authentic self.” We sought to launch a TikTok duet chain (visible here), which would skyrocket organic content. The initial posts by our TikTok network of influencers were accompanied by the #YouCanCryChallenge bespoke hashtag and #MentalHealthAwareness. Our mental health awareness campaign went viral: our Influencers’ videos saw 649.4K views. Additionally, over 3,000 TikTokers created their own videos and joined the chain. You can read more about our work on this here.

4. Maybelline New York – Brave Together

Makeup brand Maybelline New York’s target audience is aged 14-24. The brand sought to address the challenges faced by this group in a new initiative, and identified mental health as a key struggle for this demographic. In response, Maybelline launched their “Brave Together” campaign, which the brand describes as “a long-term program to support anxiety and depression worldwide”.

The campaign seeks to de-stigmatise discussions around mental health, give one-on-one support, and provide a toolkit to help those struggling with anxiety and depression. The Brave Together website features real stories from women discussing their experiences of mental health. The campaign was fronted by Storm Reid, a Gen Z actress who is well known for her open conversations on mental health.

Why it worked:

Maybelline is spreading mental health awareness through personalities that Gen Z can relate to. As a spokesperson for Maybelline, Storm Reid stands out from the traditional choice of models. Maybelline also worked with universities and charities to conduct its research into mental health issues, and the brand is training all its employees in mental health first aid. Their partnership with Crisis Text line provides free, confidential counselling via SMS, and the company is committed to investing $10 million to mental health organisations.

5. Rare Beauty – Mental Health 101

American singer and actress, Selena Gomez’ beauty brand Rare Beauty launched an educational mental health campaign in 2021. Announcing the campaign on Instagram (to her 200+ million Instagram followers) Gomez shared that the campaign, named Mental Health 101, was “so close to my heart because of my own struggles with mental health.” 

Mental Health 101 is named because it’s the education Gomez says she wishes she’d received in school, and is dedicated to providing for others. The educational services include fact sheets and slides with statistics about mental health, a petition calling for more support for mental health services in school, and a fundraiser for the Rare Impact Fund, which provides evidence-based programs addressing social and emotional learning in schools. Rare Beauty matched $200,000 of donations.

Why it worked:

Selena Gomez is a poster girl for openness about mental disorders and mental health struggles. She discussed her bipolar diagnosis on Instagram Live in April 2020, and has won awards for her mental health advocacy. In a discussion with Forbes, Elyse Cohen, VP Social Impact and Inclusion at Rare Beauty, noted the pre-pandemic study finding that Gen Z (their primary audience) was the “loneliest generation”. The campaign is a genuine effort to remove mental health stigma and “make people feel more connected”.

6. Monki – All The Feels

Gen Z-orientated fashion brand Monki sought to raise awareness about the effects of social media on young people’s health with their 2018 campaign, ‘All The Feels.’ The campaign is part of a wider company initiative to empower young women by raising awareness on topics that affect them, and was achieved in partnership with Mental Health Europe.

Posting to Instagram (the favourite social media platform of its audience at the time), Monki asked social media influencers John Yu-yi (@johnyuyi), Elyse Fox ( and Emily Bador (@darth_bador) about their experiences on social media. The influencers double as mental health advocates, discussing subjects such as body positivity, online communities and online personas. The brand also released a capsule collection of items encouraging women to express their emotions.

Why it worked:

Gen Z trusts influencers over traditional advertising, so the use of influencers – speaking in their own words, and calling on their own personal experiences – resonated with Monki’s audience. Monki supplemented their mental health social media post with the caption, “tag someone who brightens your day on social media”, encouraging their audience to spread positivity and messages of support online. 

Striking the right note for your mental health campaign

What makes a successful mental health campaign? A marketing drive that places the mental health of its audience at the centre of all marketing efforts leads to effective mental health messages and genuine support. Mental health campaigns should practice safe messaging and outreach, while providing hope and inspiring creativity. This is how brands can remove the stigma of mental health discussion and encourage openness amongst their audiences.

The most impactful mental health campaigns often coincide with given dates (World Mental Health Day, Mental Health Awareness Week, Mental Health Awareness month…) but that’s not always the case: in fact, it can be even more impactful to demonstrate to your audience that conversations around mental health can and should take place throughout the year.

If you’re searching for inspiration for your mental health campaign, get in contact with us at Fanbytes. We’re the experts on marketing to Gen Z, and we’ll get your message across in a meaningful, impactful and lasting way. 

Want to read more about mental health and supporting Gen Z online? Check out the links below:

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