“Make mental health & well-being for all a global priority” — this year’s slogan for World Mental Health Day is especially poignant, as it highlights the importance of dealing with the social and economic inequalities that are currently plaguing the world.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), these past few years have been especially difficult on people’s mental health:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created a global crisis for mental health, fueling short- and long-term stresses and undermining the mental health of millions. Estimates put the rise in both anxiety and depressive disorders at more than 25% during the first year of the pandemic. At the same time, mental health services have been severely disrupted and the treatment gap for mental health conditions has widened.”
Clearly, the pandemic exacerbated an already difficult situation — making it harder for the most vulnerable to access the help and support they need to take care of their mental health.
WHO’s 2022 goal for World Mental Health Day? Well, the organization envisions “a world in which mental health is valued, promoted and protected; where everyone has an equal opportunity to enjoy mental health and to exercise their human rights; and where everyone can access the mental health care they need.”
These days, consumers want more from brands than they ever have before. According to our own research, 63.6% of the general population believes that brands should be talking openly about mental health and 75.2% think brands should invest more time and money into supporting mental health initiatives.
So, in this article, we’ll take a look at a few brands that celebrated World Mental Health Day this year and explore how successful they each were with their campaigns.
What is World Mental Health Day?
World Mental Health Day was first celebrated on October 10th, 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) — an international non-governmental organization (NGO) that works to “promote the advancement of mental health awareness, prevention of mental disorders, advocacy, and best practice recovery focused interventions worldwide.”
The WFMH itself was actually created at the suggestion of the first Director-General of the WHO, George Brock Chisholm, who was a prominent Canadian psychiatrist. According to the WFMH’s “History” page, Chisholm was “a radical thinker,” and it was his “view that ‘health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” — a view that provided direction for both the WFMH and the WHO since the early 20th century.
Under the suggestion of psychiatrist and Secretary General Eugene Brody, World Mental Health Day got its first theme in 1994: “Improving the Quality of Mental Health Services throughout the World”.
Since then, each year has had a new theme, with notable themes over the years being:
1998: “Mental Health and Human Rights”
2007: “Mental Health in A Changing World: The Impact of Culture and Diversity”
2011: “The Great Push: Investing in Mental Health”
2015: “Dignity in Mental Health”
2017: “Mental health in the workplace”
2019: “Mental health promotion and suicide prevention”
2021: “Mental Health in an Unequal World”
This year’s theme, “Make mental health & well-being for all a global priority”, will focus on the ways that “growing social and economic inequalities, protracted conflicts, violence and public health emergencies (are affecting) whole populations, threatening progress towards improved well-being”.
The WHO wants to “strengthen mental health care so that the full spectrum of mental health needs is met through a community-based network of accessible, affordable and quality services and supports.”
And that’s where brands can really make their mark this year — by leaning into the “community-based network” aspect of the campaign and supporting their customers in getting access to affordable, high-quality mental health care.
So, let’s take a look at a few brands that ran effective, well-thought-out campaigns this year in honor of World Mental Health Day.
3 Brands That Celebrated World Mental Health Day Well in 2022
Now, let’s discuss a few brands that celebrated World Mental Health Day well this year and see what others can learn from them.
1. TOMS, “Toms 10x10 Campaign”
This year, TOMS has rolled out a special campaign to celebrate World Mental Health Day, called the “Toms 10x10”. Back in 2020, the brand shared that it's been able to positively impact 100 million lives — and now wants to help 50 million more by helping them gain access to mental health resources.
According to The Peninsula, “Toms 10x10 seeks to help fund access to resources for people to take the ‘first step’ into bettering their mental health.” As such, the campaign will give away 10 grants each worth $10,000 to 10 mental health-focused organizations.
Of the campaign, TOMS’ Chief Strategy and Impact Officer, Amy Smith, told The Peninsula:
“The earlier a mental health challenge is identified, and the more quickly a person receives care, the more attainable recovery can be. We have learned from our impact partners that one of the primary reasons people do not seek professional help is a lack of information and resources about where to start.
"Every single day we are committed to supporting people on their journey to better mental health, and every Toms purchase supports this commitment by funding access to mental health resources for the millions of people who need them. We created Toms 10x10 in celebration of World Mental Health Day.
"We are proud to give grants to these 10 organisations across the globe that support mental health programming on a local level.”
The Takeaway: TOMS is consistently committed to supporting consumers’ mental health — and not just once a year with a flashy campaign. In fact, according to the brand’s Impact page, "1/3 of profits (are invested) into social initiatives, including financial grants and partnerships with nonprofit organizations, to drive lasting change.”
It’s wonderful when brands celebrate World Mental Health Day, but it’s also important that their investment in the topic isn’t a one-off. Consumers are looking to give their business to brands who are committed to their values all year round.
2. Headspace, “#myheadspace Campaign”
Health and wellness app Headspace is a big name in the mental health industry, so it’s no surprise that the brand found an authentic, collaborative way to celebrate the holiday this year.
Dubbed the #myheadspace campaign, the brand posted to its social media account using a combination of a video from Mediation Teacher Sam Snowden and quotes from real Headspace users.
The goal of the post was to have other consumers “join the conversation” by sharing their own experiences of how they care for their mental health using the hashtag #myheadspace.
In the caption, Headspace explained:
“When we share our journeys together, it helps us see we’re not alone in our thoughts, feelings, and stories. It’s not always so easy, but vulnerability and strength go hand in hand.”
As a brand that exists in the mental health industry, creating an authentic campaign to celebrate World Mental Health Day isn’t as difficult as it might be for brands in other industries.
Nevertheless, Headspace is a great example of a company that found a way to celebrate the holiday in a genuine way which allows it to connect with consumers and build up its community.
The Takeaway: Celebrating important holidays like this requires sensitivity and finesse. While it’s always a nice idea to make a charitable donation to a mental health organization, it’s also important to provide your customers with something of tangible value.
In the case of Headspace’s #myheadspace campaign, it allows the brand to foster a stronger sense of community and normalize mental health struggles.
3. Lululemon, Influencer Collaboration Videos
To celebrate World Mental Health Day this year, athleisure brand Lululemon has teamed up with three influential individuals to create a short video series exploring what it is they each do to better their mental well-being.
First, there’s Olympian Tara David Oly, who explains how important her mental health is to her life — and how she used journaling to slow her days down and “capture her gratitude for the day”.
Another participant in the campaign is a content creator who goes by we_park, and he shares that he “seeks out the positive in every situation to improve his mental health” by focusing on the present and seeking happiness in small, everyday acts.
But that’s not all — the campaign also highlights Lululemon’s ongoing initiative, which is “working to improve equity in well-being for over 10 million people by 2025 through the Lululemon Center for Social Impact.”
According to the brand’s Social Impact page, the center’s goal is to “break barriers that prevent access to wellbeing” by leveraging “expertise, resources, and communities to invest in and advocate for the wellbeing of those most impacted by systemic inequity worldwide.”
In order to achieve this goal, Lululemon is working to invest in local community resilience, build internal capacity, and scale the project “through partnerships, philanthropy, research, and advocacy.”
The Takeaway: By partnering with relatable, authentic influencers, Lululemon was able to craft a World Mental Health Day campaign that resonated with its target audience. And like TOMS, Lululemon’s interest in its customers’ well-being isn’t a one-time thing.
The brand’s Center for Social Impact is an ongoing project that speaks to its real dedication to the topic of mental health. Other brands would be smart to consider a similar approach.
To celebrate a holiday as important and wide-reaching as World Mental Health Day, brands need to be careful about how they approach it. For millions of people around the world, mental health is a serious, highly-impactful topic — and if it’s treated with even a hint of irreverence or flippancy, you could stand to alienate many consumers.
That being said, the brands discussed in this article all found creative ways to celebrate World Mental Health Day that are true to their brand values and respectful of their consumers. So, if you’re looking to celebrate WMHD 2023, then you’d be wise to take a deep dive into their campaigns.