However, the team also found evidence that when it comes to severe mental illness, matching the right messaging with the right mindset made less of a difference.
“This suggests that anti-stigma campaigns could be more effective if they used more messaging treating mental health as the same as physical health. Our study of actual campaigns showed that messages like ‘you wouldn’t tell someone with a broken leg to just ‘walk it off’’ were also more likely to be shared, liked and commented on.” says Professor de Ruyter.
“Given the difference that matching message to mindset can make, marketeers working in this area should look to make greater use of the more sophisticated targeting that social media offers over traditional advertising. For example, they should consider mini-surveys or data-mining to tailor the content individuals see. Combining this with more emphasis on ‘medical’ type messages will give marketers far greater bang for their bucks both in pure reach, and in changing the way that people with mental illness are seen and treated.”
“Finally, it gives some insight into the challenge of tackling stigma for illnesses that are perceived as more severe. Here, a phased approach might work, first focussing on less severe examples of a condition so that people are more receptive, and then by matching people with the right kind of anti-stigma message.”