It is no secret that mental health struggles disproportionately impact communities of color.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, ethnic racial minorities often bear a disproportionately high burden of disability resulting from mental disorders. While rates of depression are lower among Black people (24.6%) and Hispanics (19.6%) than White people (34.7%), depression is more likely to be persistent and reoccur in these populations.
Native Americans, on the other hand, are more likely to report higher rates of posttraumatic stress disorder and alcohol dependence than any other ethnic or racial group.
In light of those facts, this past July, digital agency Rising Tide Interactive (RTI) and B Corp-certified communications agency Provoc joined forces to address the lack of information and attention given to BIPOC mental health.
The agencies launched a month-long social media campaign focused exclusively on the topic in partnership with the Alliance of National Psychological Associations for Racial and Ethnic Equity, which includes the Association of Black Psychologists, the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute, the Asian American Psychological Association, and National Latinx Psychological Association, Facebook and Providence Health.
The campaign included a series of ads on social platforms that provided information to help break down barriers to mental health care in BIPOC communities.
Videos featured Dr. Eduardo Morales, a clinical psychologist with the National Latinx Psychological Association drumming as a method of healing, and Dr. Jamila Codrington, a New-York based licensed psychologist with the Association of Black Psychologists talking about connecting back to her roots in order to heal.
Other content talked about indigenous history as a path towards healthing and featured roundtable discussions that dove into various healing practices.
The campaign was based on the insight that white people have more resources and get higher volumes of care for mental health issues than ethnic minority groups, said Jake Sticka, VP of client strategy at RTI.
“When we had initial conversations with each of the [psychological associations], the thing that came up again and again across each of the groups was that there just aren't enough resources that are specifically about [their] community,” he said.
For instance, the coalition felt that weekly healing circles run by the Association of Black Psychologists, for instance, or music sessions led by the Latinx Psychological association, were not visible enough to the community.
In response, RTI and Provoc created pages on Facebook and Instagram where users could experience those sessions virtually and find other resources. For five weeks through July and August, users could find user-generated videos and events aimed at improving BIPOC mental health.
The campaign ultimately reached 33.9 million people by mid-August and generated approximately 848,000 clicks to the resources. On both Facebook and Instagram, the campaign generated a total of 234 million impressions.
“There's a mainstream narrative around Western psychology that doesn't address cultural and ethnic traditions that impact our communities,” said Raj Aggarwal, president at Provoc. “So the overarching message was that our racial, ethnic and cultural traditions are actually anchors for helping us heal.”
RTI and Provoc continue to work with the coalition on new iterations of the campaign for BIPOC communities expected to launch in 2022.