aamc.org does not support this web browser.

    Handle With Care     

    Stanford University School of Medicine 
    Electronic Communications: Audio and Video 

    We are in the midst of a global mental health crisis: Rates of anxiety, depression, and “digital burnout” have soared in all work sectors (especially among health care providers), and we urgently need rapidly scalable ways to remind people to prioritize sleep, eat sensibly, stay active, and breathe mindfully. Using a short, animated storytelling approach to optimize engagement and accessibility, we created a video to help remind people everywhere to prioritize self-care. The characters and storyline were carefully crafted to transcend language and educational, cultural, and gender barriers. We also blended humor with relatable emotional moments to encourage widespread sharing, and within the initial few months of its release, the video garnered more than 90,000 views; 173,000 social media impressions; and 4,000 likes, shares, and comments; exceeding our typical engagement levels on social channels. 
    What was the most impactful part of your entry? 

    Beyond the broad reach of this video across all social media channels, viewer feedback suggested that the most impactful part of our video was the main message, a reminder we intended to send to our viewers: human “being” — handle ourselves with care. It’s so easy to get lost in our daily cycles of stress, that just reminding people to pause and care for themselves appeared to resonate deeply with our audience. The video also promotes a specific type of breathing called cyclic sighing, which has been studied by Stanford Faculty Physician David Spiegel, written about in the New York Times, and was implemented across New York public schools in the 2023 school year via a breathing app called Reveri. Additionally, Prof. Spiegel asked if he could include our video in the Reveri app. 
    What challenge did you overcome? 
    In this video, we were faced with the challenge of how to explain the mechanics of cyclic sighing without using words to do so. We have learned that if these videos become too “instructional,” they lose the propensity to go viral, and they lose their heart and “fun factor,” which make people want to share them. We overcame this specific challenge by having a dog in the video hand its owner an animated diagram of the breathing technique. We believe the silliness of having a dog successfully train their human to do something balances with the instructional quality of the story. 
    Contact: Alison Peterson