At 12:00 a.m last Thursday the University of Minnesota Daily photographers began a 24-hour photo binge stretching across the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses.
The result is an intriguing variety of images providing a depth of flavor that cannot be found on a University sanctioned tour. The “Day in the Life” issue hit newsstands today and is easily one of my favorite issues of the year.
Suicide continues to be the third leading cause of death for young people 15-24 years old. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, walk into any US high school classroom of 30 students, and the chances are that over the past 12 months:
8 of the students will have experienced extended periods of feeling hopeless;
4 will have thought seriously about suicide;
3 will have drawn up a suicide plan, and
2 will have attempted suicide
There is no question that Gen Y struggles with real issues and needs a support network where they can share their own stories of hope and encouragement with their peers.
The “We Can Help Us” campaign, created in conjunction with DDB New York, The Ad Council and SAMHSA (The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), is a peer-to-peer-based effort designed to help youth cope with tough times through the power of sharing real stories. This effort was chosen by Campus Media Group for its annual College Newspaper PSA Program and will be running in campus newspapers and on newspaper websites over the next several months. We Can Help Us is based on the following insights that are essential to understanding and reaching Gen Y.
Gen Y creates content and shares
The Pew Internet & American Life Project affirmed this in 2007 with its first report on teens as content creators. With the ease of recording video with phones, the iPod Touch and Flip Video Cameras and with Facebook as a primary method of sharing, we can assume that content creation is only increasing. This generation has also grown up in a confessional culture fueled by reality TV and the candidness of personal sharing online. We Can Help Us taps into these traits but focuses on stories from youth describing how they actually overcame a tough time versus just “confessing” without seeking help.
Gen Y prefers health-oriented websites providing support from peers and professionals
A theme uncovered by PortiCo Research shows that youth often avoid telling people in positions of authority about their problems because that authority figure may feel obligated to “do something” about the problem by reporting it or intervening in ways that will be embarrassing or further complicate things. 2008 research from Ypulse, ISIS, Peanut Labs and Youth Noise reveal that health sites are most helpful when they include accurate, accessible information where users can obtain personal support from both peers and professionals. The We Can Help Us campaign is hosted on ReachOut.com and taps into Gen Y’s natural desire to help each other while providing links to professional support, peer stories, and factsheets written by youth and edited by professionals.
Gen Y is optimistic
In spite of the down economy, war and environmental disasters, this generation views its glass as half-full. Recent Pew data show that 41% of Gen Yers are satisfied with how things are going, compared with 26% of older people. By echoing their feeling that things will get better, We Can Help Us ties into the optimism that seems to be inherent with this generation.
College students still read their campus newspapers
College newspaper readership studies have shown that more than three-quarters of college students read their college newspaper over the past month. Although it can vary from school to school, colleges with daily editions can see even higher readership. Free news and information specific to campus life and the ease of grabbing one off the newsstand between classes make newspapers an effective campus-based media channel for delivering important and, in this case, life-saving messaging.
Campus Media Group today launched a national college newspaper ad campaign with ReachOut.com to create awareness of mental health challenges among youth as well as prevent teen and young adult suicides in the United States.
Bloomington, MN, October 26th, 2010 — Campus Media Group, a marketing agency that helps companies reach college students on and off campus nationwide, today announced the launch of a national college newspaper ad campaign focused on youth mental health awareness and suicide prevention with ReachOut.com, the main program of the Inspire USA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the mission of helping millions of young people lead happier lives. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24 years old.
The ‘We Can Help Us’ ads promote ReachOut.com, a website where young adults can improve their understanding of mental health issues, develop resilience, build their coping skills and increase help-seeking behavior. It provides evidence-based information and support, real-life stories and the ability to connect and contribute in a safe and supported community.
Campus Media Group will use its strong relationships with college newspapers to provide national campus newspaper ad placement on behalf of the Inspire USA Foundation. The effort will involve hundreds of campus newspapers from all over the U.S. and will reach millions of today’s college students in cities small and large.
“We’re thrilled to be working with Campus Media Group to get the word out to students about ReachOut.com,” said Jack Heath, founder and CEO of the Inspire U.S.A. Foundation. “With suicide being the second leading cause of death among college students, these ads will hopefully let them know they are not alone and that others have made it through tough times.”
The ‘We Can Help Us’ campaign provides an opportunity to generate hope among students who are going through a tough time across the United States. The PSAs seek to convey that they are not alone in their struggles with emotional and mental health problems. It was created in collaboration with SAMHSA (The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), the Ad Council, DDB New York and the Inspire USA Foundation.
About Campus Media Group
Campus Media Group is a college marketing agency located in Bloomington, MN that provides national advertising and promotion services on and off campus. For more information on the company, visit them online at www.CampusMediaGroup.com, on Twitter @campus_media, or contact them at 952-854-3100.
About The Inspire USA Foundation
The Inspire USA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) national nonprofit organization based in San Francisco with a mission to help millions of young people lead happier lives. Working directly with teens and young adults, Inspire USA designs and delivers innovative technology-based services, which promote mental health and prevent suicide. To find out more visit them online at http://www.inspireusafoundation.org/.
If you are interested in participating in this PSA effort, please contact us. We have online ads and print ads that we can provide to you upon request.