Community-powered change in the Omaha metropolitan area: Examining a digital approach to mental health stigma reduction during the COVID-19 pandemic

Erika Bonnevie, Fatma Diouf, Jaclyn Goldbarg, Sheena Helgenberger, Ellen Wartella, Brandon Grimm, Sarah Sjolie, Joe Smyser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Mental health stigma is associated with a range of negative health outcomes, and there is a need for more information on how to apply evidence-based digital strategies to various geographic areas. This case study reviews the creation and implementation of a community-based participatory digital media campaign that uses a collective impact framework to address mental health stigma reduction in the Omaha metropolitan area. The campaign was delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic and consisted of various components, including two social media campaigns which delivered evidence-based messaging through user-generated content from local individuals: Spokesimals Midwest paired images of local pets with educational mental health messages, while WhatMakesUs featured personal testimonials of people’s experiences with mental health. Campaign reach was amplified by engagement with community-based organizations and local influencers. Within the first 10 months, WhatMakesUs and Spokesimals Midwest received 412 testimonials and pet submissions. The campaign partnered with 47 community-based organizations, and 50 influencers achieved over 27,000 engagements and a reach of 173.5K on social media. The positive metrics from the first 10 months of the campaign show promise in the use of this model to impact mental health stigma in the Midwestern United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCommunication Review
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • Collective impact
  • digital media campaigns
  • health communications
  • mental health stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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