Highly Commended

GLAD I took part – Reducing Mental Health Stigma

by Four Health for King’s College London

Summary of work

Anxiety and depression are common throughout society but still face stigma. However, mental health research has been greatly limited by access to research volunteers. The NIHR Mental Health BioResource for Depression and Anxiety was set up as a database of contactable research volunteers but traditional recruitment methods have only identified patients in the hundreds. To ensure 20,000 valid participants were secured, a multi-stakeholder, multichannel campaign was called for. Firstly, a memorable name was created with wider-audience appeal: ‘Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression’ #GLADStudy. Strategically, the GLAD Study campaign focused on the research participants as individuals and told their stories. Case studies, charity partners and organisations were included to inspire a diverse community to sign up. As a result, the study website was overwhelmed with over 1 million visits in the first week and 24,000 valid and diverse research participants with depression and/or anxiety were recruited. The NIHR Mental Health BioResource for Depression and Anxiety now holds one of the largest banks of research volunteers in the world. There was a visible increase in positive, public discussion about depression and anxiety, acting to reduce mental health stigma.

Judges’ comments

This entry had really clever branding, and very clear, measurable outcome, which is attractive. Plus the sheer number of volunteers (24,000) blew the judges away. It was all approached with really good knowledge of media platforms and it felt like Four Health and King’s College London considered every platform properly. For the budget they had it was impressive to get all those influencers and coverage, and even considering influencers as a media outcome was a great idea. Overall it’s just really smart.