Creative industries are uniting around mental health messaging as the pandemic takes its toll on America.
The month of May this year is a requiem for milestones many Americans are missing; high school proms, college commencements, backyard parties with toasts to the future.
Incoming college freshmen who would normally look forward to starting college are now wondering if campus will open at all. Twentysomethings working their way through college may have had to drop their summer courses, while others are wondering if they can afford the fall semester (online or not).
Pandemic-related fear is bearing down, explaining why Americans ages 18 to 30 have more concerns than any other age group.
In addition to having the most dire financial problems, Gen Z’ers and the youngest millennials are also the ones most using words such as angry, lonely, irritable, sad, depressed, isolated, tired, and anxious on social platforms, according to the Ad Council, the non-profit producing nationwide public service campaigns about being #alonetogether, the need to #stayhome, and tributes to essential workers while singing to Alicia Keys.
These new social norms are loose rocks on top of the country’s mountainous mental health crisis.
Psychology + Creativity
Whereas 48,400 Americans died by suicide in 2018, a new study predicts that the rampant unemployment, isolation and uncertainty caused by Covid-19 could lead to 75,000 “deaths of despair” from suicide and alcohol and drug abuse.
In 2017, nearly 18,000 people ages 10 to 34 died by suicide, the second leading cause of death for that age group. For every youth suicide, it is estimated that 100 to 200 others make an attempt.
And so it falls on the shoulders of the advertising, entertainment and media industries to keep society from becoming threadbare; it’s taking an adept mix of psychology, creativity, and airwaves.
Coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Month, the Ad Council, MTV and ViacomCBS’ Entertainment & Youth Brands are releasing new assets on AloneTogether.com and recruiting TikTok stars to share tips for staying emotionally healthy.