Raise your hand if you’ve ever run into this all-too-common situation: you’re talking to a friend or family member about your mental health, and they ask you, point-blank, if you’re sure you’re really depressed or anxious, because “everyone has bad days,” or “everyone feels like that sometimes.”
Or maybe you’ve run through those same questions yourself. Maybe you wonder if you’re really depressed, because hey, you’re capable of getting out of bed most days. Maybe that doubt is even keeping you from setting out to get help.
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is trying to clear up some of that confusion with a light-hearted new ad series that makes it clear that there’s a difference between feeling bad on occasion and dealing with depression or anxiety — and that everyone has their own experiences with mental health issues.
That second point is an important one. Many people who are depressed still get up and put on clothes every morning. Lots of people who are coping with anxiety still sleep at night. CMHA is more interested in getting people access to help when they need it than providing comprehensive diagnostic criteria, so they promote the idea that a single “problem” is enough to at least consider talking to a doctor.
Jonny Morris, CMHA British Columbia’s senior policy and research director, spoke to Metro about the inspiration for the ad series.
“We want to help activate awareness in people about the symptoms of when mood and anxiety might be outside the norm,” Jonny Morris told Metro in a phone interview, “and to seek help.”
The ads were “designed to help people in a playful but not caricatured way,” he explained, and launched thanks to CMHA B.C. winning the BC Broadcasters Association’s Humanitarian Award — valued at $1 million of advertising airtime for a charity.
“We hope that the advertising campaign will connect with those for whom mental health is not even on their radar,” said CMHA B.C.’s CEO Bev Gutray in a statement.
The ads, which were created by Rethink Communications, direct viewers to CMHA’s Bounce Back program. The program helps adults overcome early symptoms of depression and anxiety with videos, workbooks, and phone counselling. Last year, it served 30,000 people in British Columbia, and 96 percent of participants rated its quality as good or very good.
Even if you’re outside CMHA BC’s region, though, these ads are a great reminder that mental health issues are legitimate and worth following-up on. If you think you might have mental health issues that need addressing, then talk to your doctor, or consider finding a therapist. It’s a lot easier to figure out whether something is really a problem when you can talk to a professional.