McCann Health Works to Destigmatize Mental Health

On World Mental Health Day, McCann Health hosted The Drum’s “Do It Day” hackathon to find creative solutions for destigmatizing conversations around mental illness. The brief, presented by Mental Health America’s CEO Paul Gionfriddo, was to expand on an existing platform (called “B4Stage4”) to encourage early screening for mental health issues, particularly for younger kids. The hackathon was kicked off by The Drum’s Americas editor, Doug Zanger, and McCann Health’s Global Chief Creative Officer, Jeremy Perrott.

Three teams went to work—each with the guidance of a creative mentor from McCann Health.. At the end of the day, each team presented their idea to the room as judges (Paul Gionfriddo, Doug Zanger, and Jeremy Perrott) deliberated. Two teams were selected to advance to the campaign execution stage, and their combined efforts will be fine-tuned to launch in November.

Jeremy Perrott said of the winning teams: “[They] went straight to contemporary, modern, social media that engages, embraces and drags people into the world we want to be in, there was nothing that relied on big money…that would drain the creativity,” and added that the tight timeline could be seen as an advantage. He added, “When there’s no time and no money, brilliance starts to bubble up pretty quickly.”

The winning teams will combine the idea of building an avatar, or bitmoji, to encourage kids to express their state of emotions to their adult caretakers, along with the concept of building and investing in your “mental wealth,” which aims to reframe the language and perception around mental health issues and promote the importance of taking steps to ensure a child’s mental wellbeing.

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