Is the push for self-care encouraging a movement or overwhelming a society trying to accomplish it all? See how brands are tackling the topic of mental health.
Take your vitamins. Buy organic. Meal prep. Meditate. Sound familiar? For those of us on social media, it’s what our feeds are telling us to do — self-care is “in.” But is this push for self-care encouraging the movement, or is it overwhelming a society of consumers who are stressed out trying to accomplish it all? With anxiety on the rise and social media its catalyst, brands are finally using their platforms to address mental health, approaching it from all angles with campaigns, coalitions, and collaborations.
Products That Calm
Keep calm and carry on. At least that’s what some brands are hoping to inspire with their new mental health-focused merchandise. To stimulate conversation around mental illness, Topshop and Topman have partnered with the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) to create new clothing care labels that live on the outside of garments as a reminder for consumers to take care of themselves. Nike also jumped on the merch train and created the “In My Feels” shoe, inspired by the ups and downs of life and intended to promote mental health awareness.
Taking a Social Stance
Earlier this year, Instagram did something nobody was expecting: they began testing the removal of “likes” from their platform. This change was designed to improve the lives of consumers by helping to “reduce [Instagram’s] associated impacts on mental health and societal pressure.” Over the years, likes have started to feel like a popularity contest, adding pressure on users to have high-quality, well-liked content. This expected behavior has also motivated other companies to invite fans to participate in social media “blackout” days.
Coalitions for a Cause
On World Mental Health Day, Kenneth Cole announced its launch of The Mental Health Coalition, an initiative that will “bring together nonprofits, businesses, brands, celebrities and influencers in a coordinated effort to destigmatize mental health conditions.” Fittingly, the visual identity for the organization incorporates a symbol that reflects a square peg in a round hole, representing those who feel they don’t fit in. One small step for wellness, one giant leap for humankind.
Mental Health Campaigns
Beyond physical health, total wellness also incorporates mental health and well-being. And now (finally), we’re seeing brands embrace the movement behind mental health awareness with campaigns dedicated to the cause. Take, for example, supplement company The Nue Co. They’ve been redirecting advertising spend to out-of-home campaigns, posing questions like “How are you, really?” and “Are you here right now, or somewhere else?” The ads underline issues like stress, sleep, exhaustion and loneliness. Topics that were once taboo are now living high above city streets on hard-to-ignore billboards.
To help remove the stigma around mental health, brands have been aligning with organizations and causes that support its awareness in an effort to talk about a once-unmentionable topic. Hulu partnered with the creators of the “World Record Instagram Egg” to raise awareness around anxiety from social media, Instagram joined forces with The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and Burger King partnered with Mental Health America.
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