OPPORTUNITYTo be a teenager parent is hard. If your child battles with depression is even harder. The parents that worked at the production of the film OTTO The Barbarian (film who brought to the big screens the story of an young adult who faced the death of his girlfriend leaving him depressed) decided they had to do everything that stays in their power to raise awareness of the seriousness of the subject of ‘teenage depression’. The “Public Advisors Agency” joined as a lead partner in this effort. The initiative relied solely on the strength of this group of parents and the PR agency to help them take the message forward without involving corporate sponsorship. The film was presented at “TIFF” where it received the “The Best Romanian Feature Film” award and at the Anonimul Festival.
RESEARCHMajor depressive disorder in children and adolescents is often under-diagnosed worldwide. We can discuss even more about under-diagnoses in a country like Romania where the subject has been present for very little time in public discussion or in the media. The World Health Organization reports that half of all cases of emotional disorders occur around the age of 14, but most are undetected and untreated and can profoundly affect areas such as school activity and attendance. Teenagers experience episodes of major depression at a rate comparable to adults, with three quarters of those depressed suffering from additional mental disorders. By the age of 24, half of them experience another episode of major depression. Only a quarter of those who had a history of major depression between the ages of 14 and 19 completely outgrow these problems by the age of 23, but they too are subject to the reminiscent effects of the disorders they experienced in their younger years. In addition, the vast majority of adolescents with depression (75%) do not receive systemic treatment. Suicide is the leading cause of death among adolescents aged 10-19 in low-and-middle-income European countries in the region and the second leading cause in high-income countries. The World Health Organisation reports that up to 10% of boys and 14% of girls aged 11 reported “feeling sad” more than once a week in the past six months on average in 28 European OECD countries. According to the same report, the proportion of children reporting feeling sad increases with age, and the gender gap becomes even more pronounced: at age 11, 14% of girls report feeling sad compared to 10% of boys, while at age 15 the gap is wider: 29% of girls and only 13% of boys.
PLANNINGConsidering that the target audience was both children/adolescents suffering from depression and their parents, families, friends and teachers, we created a concept that could be understood and internalized by all these audiences. The main message of the campaign was „NU da doar cu SEEN” (“Don’t just „SEEN”) and the logo was the “seen” sign, but with 3 blue ticks. We chose to use this symbol because the tick system is well known to users of the Whatsapp messaging app which is extremely popular among young Romanians and has 2 billion users globally. We then made an analogy with the life of a depressed teenager who doesn’t just need to be seen. He needs to be helped, understood, supported. The message that uses the language of teenagers on social media, but is also understood by parents, translates into: don’t ignore someone, pay attention, help them, answer them or show them where they can find help. The word SEEN also has a link to the film: don’t just watch the film, do something. Because our campaign message is to do something, to overcome the status of witnessing the depression of your child, friend or student, we decided that we, the initiators of this campaign, should be the ones to show the way to the relatives and offer them some intervention tools. Thus we attracted as implementing partner in the campaign the psychologist Yolanda Crețescu who became the public “spokesperson” of the campaign and DepreHUB, one of the most popular online platforms that offer psychological support to young people. We concentrated our communication efforts in 3 weeks of tactical implementation in parallel with the period when the film OTTO the Barbarian ran in all cinemas in Romania.
- one grey tick – the message has been sent, but the recipient has not yet received it.
- two grey ticks – the message has also been received by the caller’s phone, and when the two grey ticks turn blue, the caller has also read your message.
- two blue ticks – the message has been read.
EXECUTIONThe ”NU da doar cu SEEN” campaign focused on a mechanism to raise awareness of the problem and then a call to action leading to the solution: the free teenage depression helpline run by partner DepreHUB (https://adolescenti.deprehub.ro/) which ran throughout the campaign.
Communication channels and supportFor young people: The film itself represented an asset to the campaign and cinemagraphs and media were the channels for conveying the message through the film. Instragram: we selected this channel for its popularity among Romanian teenagers. On this channel we decided to use an approach specific to our audience and created a special image filter dedicated to the “NU da doar cu SEEN” campaign and the OTTO The Barbarian film. The filter has been used in several hundred posts and even adopted by influencers. For family and teachers: Video-Podcast “Nu da doar cu SEEN”( “Don’t just “SEEN”) – A concept of videos moderated by a specialist who was already well known on the subject of adolescent depression, psychologist Yolanda Crețescu. In order to get the message of the campaign across to them, we decided that we needed to involve a few voices that would also have credibility and reach with the audience. We invited and convinced a few relevant voices in the public space to join the campaign without remuneration. Extensive media relations campaign with a press screening of OTTO the Barbarian and a live debate with the psychologist and some of the influencers in the video-podcast.
In just 3 weeks of the campaign we generated exposure for the message in approximately 100 press materials across all targeted channels, of which 54 in traditional media (TV, radio, written press, online) and 53 in social media.
Video-podcast: approximately 20,000 views of the videos about teenagers’ relationships with their parents in the context of depression.
100% positive reactions from the media.
Approximately 13 million OTS (people who have been exposed to our message).
More than 1700 children and teenagers have used the DepreHUB TeenLine. Analysis of these cases shows an alarming increase in the number of children who resort to self-harm in situations of fear, anger, conflict, an increase in cases of social phobia in children and pre-teens, and anxiety and hypochondria in adolescents as a consequence of the pandemic period.