A place we can all find ourselves.

Mental Health Foundation Mental Health Awareness Week 2022

MHAW 2022 was the most successful in its history - within hours of the first day the top three trending hashtags on Twitter were MHAW related.

Mental Health Foundation

The Mental Health Foundation have been running Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) in the UK for over twenty years. Each year they highlight a different issue affecting people’s mental health – and in 2022 the theme of the week was ‘Loneliness.’

Much like mental health itself, the scale of loneliness in the UK is extraordinary.

According to the Foundation’s research, almost one in three people in the UK feel lonely some or all of the time, rising to 38% for young people. It’s a feeling all of us can experience, and so many of us do.

And yet, despite the vast numbers of us who experience loneliness, one in five (18%) hide our feelings of loneliness from other people –  and one in ten (12%) would never admit to someone they felt lonely. We knew that unless we were able to combat the self-stigma around the issue, we’d never be able to truly demonstrate it’s scale. So that’s what we set out to do.

At the heart of our idea for the campaign was a simple observation – loneliness is a place we can all go to – and a place we can all leave.

We reimagined loneliness as a physical place – a place filled with every kind of person, experiencing loneliness for every kind of reason – which also allowed us to talk about the routes out, the things we can do for ourselves and others to tackle it.

We worked with illustrator Emile Holmewood to create the world of loneliness, and created a launch film to help people understand the issue. This one world gave us every conceivable asset we needed, from digital ads to publications and downloadable toolkits for partners to use.

Alongside this world we created a hashtag for the week to encourage participation in organic social. #IveBeenThere was a call to share an experience from your past when you were lonely and nobody knew –  and by putting the experience in the past, it acts as an empowering personal narrative of how you coped. A way of demonstrating the fact that you’re not alone in feeling lonely.

To aid the Foundation’s PR and advocacy activities we also produced a super distilled messaging hierarchy – so that our description of loneliness and it’s effects were consistent across every participant in the week, and everyone that lent their voice could help tackle the self-stigma, and shine a light on the scale.

Within hours of the first day the top three trending hashtags on Twitter were MHAW related. We saw massive support from partners, all of whom mirrored our messaging to achieve unprecedented scale. And for the first time ever, policy announcements committing millions of pounds of funding towards loneliness were made during the week itself.

For more information on the vital work of the Mental Health Foundation, visit www.mentalhealth.org.uk