Thought Leadership

Mental Health Campaigns breaking down stigmas

In Mental Health Awareness month industry experts share their most-loved mental health focused campaigns

Georgie Moreton

Deputy Editor, BITE Creativebrief


At the start of October Mental Health day acts as a reminder to check in with one another, open up conversations around mental health and work to break down stigmas. The theme this year was ‘mental health is a universal human right’. A theme which underlines that all to often in a world filled with conflict and uncertainty mental health can be forgotten.

The advertising industry has the power to bring important issues to the fore, tackle real-world issues head on and change perceptions. To continue the conversation around mental health, industry experts share some of their favourite mental health focused campaigns.

Lara Eyre

Lara Eyre, RAPP.jpg



I’m pleased to see mental health being brought to the fore through football with both the Movember’s ‘Where my mate’ campaign and Norwich City’s suicide prevention film. With 75% of suicides being men, using the sport so many love to start the conversation is a seamless starter and one that gets the message of help to those who might be more at risk.

Movember sought to insert themselves where their audience least expected and made them notice who might be missing, encouraging a simple check in that could make all the difference. Norwich City Football Club educated audiences in such an emotional way that even non-football fans, like me, were moved by watching two men react so differently and were shocked into tears at the outcome.

When so much of the industry is set-up to measure sentiment analysis and conversation volumes, what’s fascinating about the subject of men’s mental health is the distinct lack of conversation and silence that exists. So rather than seeking out noise, insight is gleaned from locating the silence and the gaps in conversation. Being the one that nudges the conversation could help change the course of someone’s life.

Mike Barcroft

Mike Barcroft, Cream.jpg

Innovation Strategist


On the eve of another Movember, where across the world, one man dies by suicide every minute of every day, with males accounting for 69% of all suicides, the most likely thing to kill you, is you – clearly there is a mental health emergency in our society.

While brands have important platforms to shape conversation on key issues, on sensitive topics like Mental Health, brands should always seek the guidance of organisations with the knowledge and expertise to actually confront the issues at hand. It can feel instinctive for brands to promote their support for their audiences (and the issues affecting them), but without a partnership with organisations who understand the nuance and complexity of issues like mental health, brands risk adding unhelpful noise to an already sensitive issue.

The best brand initiatives align themselves with like-minded charities, channelling efforts into tangible actions rather than mere rhetoric. This can manifest through allocating resources from advertising budgets or spearheading fundraising campaigns. A standout example of this ethos is exemplified by the collaboration between adam&eveDDB and CALM, as seen in their powerful campaign 'The Last Photo', which used invaluable audience insights, effectively dismantling prevailing stereotypes surrounding suicidal individuals. Rapha x Mr Porter’s campaign for Movember echoes a similar sentiment.

To truly make a lasting impact on consumers' emotional well-being, brands must engage more with authenticity and depth. This entails active and sincere communication with their audience, recognising and addressing their unique needs. In doing so, brands can forge genuine connections that resonate on a profound level and contribute meaningfully to the broader mental health conversation.

Mulenga Agley

Mulenga Agley, CEO and Founder of Growthcurve.jpg

CEO and Founder


Rightfully winning the Grand Prix at Cannes Lions this year, The Last Photo is the first campaign that springs to my mind this Mental Health Month.

The internet loves a good happy cry - soldiers returning home to their families, Lewis Capaldi singing at an airport arrivals gate or baby animals becoming life-long friends - whereas this ad cleverly subverts the usual theme.

Drawing the audience in with clips of everyday people, gleefully living their lives before injecting a powerful message to provide a stark realisation about mental health. It’s one of the most impactful ways to make a point that lingers in viewers minds, and it was masterfully done in this ad.

But it’s not something that any advertiser can do. Playing in the emotional spectrum and with a hard hitting subject matter like mental health isn’t acceptable for brands who aren’t on missions which positively affect humanity. However this ad is a brilliant example of where this kind of attention hack and subterfuge is acceptable due to the severity of the cause. 

Brands can learn from this type of set up but must be cautious. The level of emotional weight you put on the viewer should always be proportionate to your cause.

Tom Ghiden


Managing Director

JOAN London

Given the state of the world, it’s a particularly interesting time to observe World Mental Health Month and take true stock of our welfare.  Following recent weeks, marred by global violence and mounting anxieties, it’s no wonder the UK is facing rising demand for mental health care.

And while it’s expected for brands to tap into cultural calendars in moments that feel authentic, the campaigns I find most interesting are the ones that are entirely unexpected.  Whether that’s brands finding a genuine way in, a new creative device or insight that brings a story to life in a way we’ve never seen before.  These campaigns tend to be the most interesting, and certainly the ones that tend to drive the most change.

For World Mental Health Month 2023, the Norwich FC film particularly struck a chord. While the film focuses on two Norwich fans’ demeanour during games, it’s the surprise ending that shocks you. Leaving you feeling truly reflective about the importance of “talking to your mates.” It’s simple, and yet incredibly powerful – using an exceptionally true insight to create an unexpected creative device that drives introspection.

This is what good advertising should do: leave us questioning ourselves and driving us to action.  For me, this means checking on my loved ones during these trying times, even the ones who seem like they don’t need me.

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