From the Editor
Bell Let’s Talk generates incredible attention. The annual effort raised almost $7 million this January, with tens of millions of social media interactions. It was praised by many, including the Prime Minister.
But do awareness campaigns like Bell’s actually result in people seeking care? And are awareness campaigns ultimately helpful? In this week’s Reading, we have two selections that consider these questions.
In the first selection, the study authors look at the Bell campaign, as well as outpatient visits for mental health, tapping Ontario databases. “The 2012 Bell Let’s Talk was temporarily associated with increases in the trends of outpatient mental health visits, especially within the adolescent female cohort.”
The second selection is an interview with Dr. Simon Wessely, one of the most prominent psychiatrists in the U.K., and the president of the Royal Society of Medicine. In a BMJ interview, he weighs in on integrating mental health and physical health services, his choice of psychiatry as a profession, and – yes – the role of awareness campaigns. “Every time we have a mental health awareness week my spirits sink. We don’t need people to be more aware. We can’t deal with the ones who already are aware.”
Big campaign, big impact?
So are awareness campaigns worthwhile? You can read these selections and draw your own conclusions.