141st APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

In This section

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Messaging about suicide prevention in a large California county: It's up to us

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 8:50 AM - 9:10 AM

Anara Guard, MLS , Center for the Study and Prevention of Injuries, Violence and Suicide, EDC, Inc., Sacramento, CA
Baseline surveys indicated that 40% of San Diegans did not know how to recognize warning signs for suicide. The San Diego County Department of Behavioral Health funded a five-year $8.4 million mass media campaign intended to reduce suicidal behavior, increase help seeking, counter negative stereotypes associated with mental illness, and reduce stigma. “It's Up to Us”, a multi-pronged media campaign, launched in 2010. The first wave focused on mental health, and included outreach and education to physicians. The second wave focused on suicide prevention, with an emphasis on effective messaging to and about middle-aged white men, who account for more than 50% of suicide deaths in the county. The approach was to address their issues as “tough times” rather than as mental illnesses, and the audience was encouraged to speak up, listen up, read up and link up in response. This session will describe the campaign, show some of the materials, describe results (web traffic, calls to the local crisis line) and discuss how this approach adheres to messaging recommendations for both safety and effectiveness.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe the elements of a multi-year countywide suicide prevention social marketing campaign Explain how safe messaging recommendations and best practices in communications were used to form the campaign Demonstrate measures of success of the campaign

Keywords: Communication, Suicide

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the senior content advisor to the campaign since its inception, as well as serving in a similar role to a statewide suicide prevention social marketing program. I have presented numerous times on best practice communications to public health, journalism, suicide prevention and grassroots audiences.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.