Online Program

Real Warriors Campaign: Utilizing Social Marketing Tactics to Encourage Help-Seeking Behavior in Military Culture

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 10:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Lauren Wilson, MA, Public Communication, Defense, Military Health, Booz Allen Hamilton, Washington, DC
The Real Warriors Campaign (launched May 2009), is a multimedia public awareness campaign that encourages service members and veterans coping with psychological health concerns to reach out for appropriate care. Sponsored by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE), the campaign uses a variety of proven strategies, including an interactive website (, a well-known OS app, public service announcements, traditional and social media outreach, collateral materials, and a partnership network to engage diverse stakeholders in all stages of their military career.

The presentation will address the successful implementation of social marketing tactics in reducing stigma associated with seeking care. Additionally, the presentation will highlight best practices for using digital platforms to engage military audiences to encourage help-seeking behavior. The responsive website ( and companion OS app is an online photo-sharing service and the military’s first peer support app. The website – accessible on all devices – allows users to “salute” (i.e. like) and share their peers’ photos, sort content, and access 24/7 crisis resources for concerns like suicide. Through these mediums, the campaign can effectively reach target audiences worldwide on all devices.

Since launch, the campaign has reached stakeholders with effective avenues for behavioral change, and has been identified as a key initiative in changing negative perceptions and reducing barriers to care. These results tell a very positive story: the Real Warriors Campaign’s public outreach efforts continue to be an extremely effective means for creating awareness of and directing audiences to resources for seeking psychological health care.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Identify best practices for developing a social marketing campaign to communicate the positive aspects of seeking treatment for psychological health concerns within military culture to a constantly mobile, transitioning community of stakeholders. Assess the benefits of using digital platforms to educate audiences on psychological health tools and resources available to service members, veterans and military families. Demonstrate the importance and role of health professionals in supporting service members with psychological health concerns, and describe digital partnership efforts, resources and health communications strategies that resonate with military audiences.

Keyword(s): Social Marketing, Self-Efficacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: : I am qualified to present because I oversee this program and have served in leadership roles (such as Media Director, Deputy Project Manager and Project Manager) for military behavioral change and social marketing initiatives for the past four years. Contact Annette Ferebee at if you have any questions regarding continuing education credit. Please contact program planners for more information.
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.