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    A Little Help Goes a Long Way (A Video on Mental Health)

    Stanford University School of Medicine
    Electronic Communications: Audio and Video - Gold
    Best in Show Finalist

    Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health challenges, like depression and anxiety, were among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality globally. The pandemic, in conjunction with persistent social stigma surrounding mental health disorders, created an urgent need to strengthen public awareness and reduce mental health-related stigma globally. Short, animated, wordless health entertainment videos have proven to be effective for rapidly conveying health information globally, enhancing knowledge, and promoting behavior change. We developed a short, animated, wordless video to communicate to the public one of the most important preventive health actions we can take: asking for help when we feel ourselves becoming overwhelmed. We delivered this video broadly to the public via the platforms where they spend time — social media — thereby aiming to encourage those in need of support to ask for help and normalizing the experience of seeking support during challenging times.

    What was the most impactful part of your entry?
    Following the success of our public health videos for the COVID-19 pandemic, this video was developed to focus attention on the mental health crisis our world is facing. With culturally neutral, language-independent health messages that rely only on visual storytelling and a powerful, engaging soundtrack, our approach emphasizes accessibility for all. It was also important to us that we design these videos to be distributed on social media — platforms that are used by almost everyone in the world.

    What challenge did you overcome?
    It was incredibly important to us that anyone watching this video could identify with the characters in the video. We had the animator create several versions to ensure that the main character wasn’t overly masculine or feminine, old or young. We also spent a lot of time with the symbols on the boulders that weighed the character down. We hoped to include issues that were relatable to anyone watching. And, most important, we were very intentional about showing that when the character pushed the red button for help, it was another person who came to support them — showing we are not alone in our struggles.

    Alison Peterson