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McLean Hospital - Healthcare Campaign


Gold Stevie Award Winner 2016, Click to Enter The 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer service

Company: McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA
Company Description: A leader in psychiatric care, research, and education, McLean Hospital is the largest psychiatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. We specialize in personalized care, with our staff, faculty, volunteers, and supporters being dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.
Nomination Category: Corporate Communications, Investor Relations, & Public Relations Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Communications or PR Campaign/Program of the Year - Healthcare

Nomination Title: Deconstructing Stigma: A Change in Thought Can Change a Life

Tell the story about this nominated campaign since January 1, 2016 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms.

Deconstructing Stigma: A Change in Thought Can Change a Life is a public awareness campaign developed by McLean Hospital in an effort to spark conversation not only about behavioral and mental health but also about the stigma that surrounds it. Together, in a true partnership with the campaign participants, and Boston Logan International Airport, we created Deconstructing Stigma, and together, we are changing attitudes about psychiatric disorders, including depression, substance abuse, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

McLean was inspired to develop this campaign because despite the prevalence of mental illness in the United States, shame and stigma are still far too common when it comes to psychiatric disease. There should be no shame in having a mental illness, but the stigma that surrounds these conditions contributes to the fear and isolation that individuals and their families feel far too often. With one in five American’s experiencing a mental illness in their lifetime, one of the key points of the campaign is to make it clear that essentially everyone is affected by mental illness in some way, whether by living with an illness ourselves or grappling with its consequences in a friend, colleague, or loved one.

Knowing that mental illness is not a topic people are eager to tackle, we knew this campaign had to be different. It had to be daring, provocative, and insightful. Most importantly, it needed to resonate with a broad audience. This campaign boldly challenges the misconceptions regarding mental illness. More than just statistics or nameless faces, the volunteers in this project are everyday people—just like you.

Working with partner organization and using social media, we identified volunteers from across the Unites States who wanted to participate in the project. With an idea of creating portraits that stood eight-feet tall, we also knew we needed a large venue. Partnering with Boston Logan International Airport—one of the most visited airports in the country—allowed us to approach this campaign knowing that its impact would be substantial and that space would not be a barrier to our efforts. We also knew that it was unique, in that no other airport in the country had ever partnered with a psychiatric institute to develop such a bold campaign.

No other psychiatric hospital or organization has ever partnered with an airport to develop such a large scale mental health campaign. The response from the public, the media and other mental health advocacy groups has been overwhelmingly positive.

The exhibit at Logan Airport is expected to be viewed by more than 1 million people in 2017 and thus far, the reaction from travelers has been positive. The Deconstructing Stigma campaign has seen more than 3 million engagements on social media including retweets and comments from our celebrity participants, including Howie Mandel and Rick Springfield. The first run of the companion book sold out and is now on its second press run and averages 500 views a month.

Reaction from the public has been extremely positive, and as a result, 150 people from across the United States have reached out to volunteer for subsequent phases of the campaign. A young suicide survivor who was so moved by the campaign after seeing it at Logan Airport is using her opportunity to run in the 2017 Boston Marathon to raise funds for the campaign, while also increasing awareness about it.

In addition, we are currently in negotiations to install similar exhibits in three airports and two universities. The demand for Deconstructing Stigma to be used as a tool to spark conversation is so high, that we have developed a portable exhibit, which will be brought to 11 conferences this year. In May, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will honor Deconstructing Stigma with its Life Saver Award.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) of the chief features and results of this nominated PR program since the beginning of 2016 (up to 150 words).

-8-foot portraits of individuals affected by mental illness, representing ethnic, cultural, religious and gender diversity, to raise awareness about mental illness.
-Info-graphics highlighted the key stats: 1 in 5 Americans will be affected by a mental illness in their lifetime and of those, 75 percent will feel the effects of stigma.
-The images and accompanying narratives deliver the powerful message that an illness does not define an individual.
-Large audience reached via website, social media, standard media and our partnership with Boston Logan International Airport.
-Media coverage: front page, The Boston Globe, feature photo, The New York Times, exclusive blog, The Huffington Post, Associated Press story, resulting in placement in several hundred news outlets.
-The exhibit at Logan will be seen by 1 million in 2017.
-Campaign has seen more than 3 million engagements on social media. averages 500 views/monthly.