New Ad Council effort tells young people to be there for each other, even from afar

Droga5 created this next phase of national suicide prevention campaign "Seize the Awkward."

Times are hard. Stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines have altered important life experiences for many young people. Proms and graduation ceremonies have been canceled. Companies are no longer holding internships or taking new recruits. And many college students have to move back in with their parents. 

May is "Mental Health Awareness Month," which is why the Ad Council, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and The Jed Foundation (JED) have decided to team up to launch a campaign aimed at getting young people to stay close to one another amid the days of self-isolation.

The effort, which is the next phase of national suicide prevention initiative "Seize the Awkward," features a music video with a number of singers and digital celebs, such as Akinyemi, Meghan Trainor, Addison Rae, Avery Cyrus, Bryce Xavier, The McFarlands and more.

Droga5 – the agency that got "Seize the Awkward" off the ground with the Ad Council in 2018 – worked on the new phase pro bono.

In addition to the music video, the campaign is launching with various assets across digital, social, radio and broadcast to help give young people the right language and motivation to check in with their friends in creative ways. Thirty-six artists from around the world also created 70-plus GIFs and stickers on GIPHY to act as conversation starters on difficult topics.

"For many young people struggling with mental health issues, the fears and challenges resulting from COVID-19 have amplified what they’re going through," said Heidi Arthur, chief campaign development officer at the Ad Council, in a statement. "The new creative, brimming with energy and positivity, will provide our audience with support and give them access to tips and resources during this particularly difficult time."

Various partners are donating media to support the campaign, including Google, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Tumblrs and others. Snap Inc. has also donated two filters for the campaign, with the second slated to launch May 15.

Media agency, Initiative, is working on the campaign pro bono by helping to secure media with the likes of Billboard, Complex, Gallery Media Group, IGN, MIQ, Pandora (Soundcloud), Spotify, Tastemade and Uproxx.

Suicide is second leading cause of death among young adults, and for every youth suicide it is estimated that 100-200 others attempt to take their own lives. "Seize the Awkward" launched two years ago with the goal of lowering that disheartening statistic.

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