Mental Health Awareness
Week 2021

The Challenge

The Mental Health Foundation has a clear mission, to help people to thrive through understanding, protecting, and sustaining their mental health. For the second year we worked with with the UK based charity on their flagship annual campaign Mental Health Awareness Week. We helped to define the campaign objectives, key messaging and call-to-actions, and created  the campaign branding. The theme for this year was Nature, and specifically the mental health benefits of spending time in and connecting with nature. The campaign style fed through a range of deliverables, including animation, supporter packs, OOH advertising, case study films, reports and social media content.

Brand images
Instagram Stickers
The Solution

The biggest challenge in this campaign was creating a broad appeal that resonated with a very wide and diverse audience. The MHF was trying to reach literally every UK adult, a huge task but a worthy ambition to help as many people as possible at a time when we all need a boost to our mental health. The look and feel for the campaign, the messaging and the call to actions had to be accessible and appealing for them to reach and engage with the UK’s diverse population. 

To make the visual style of the campaign appealing and relevant we used a mixed media approach of combining quirky illustrations, photography, film and bold hand drawn typography. This enabled us to create an adaptable campaign that resonated with each platform’s audience, no matter what their personal circumstances were. We also ensured that we showed a diverse mix of races, abilities and environments to help the content connect with everyone in the UK.

We worked with a typographer and hand lettering artist for the hand-drawn typography element, creating positive short messages that would uplift people and inspire them to find out more. These were used in a range of different ways, from the main campaign lock-up to a suite of social assets and print documents. 

The Illustration style was playful and fun, showing a diverse range of people connecting with nature in a huge range of ways. These illustrations were used across all comms assets too, enabling the campaign to feel accessible and friendly in tone, while delivering serious content and guidance.

Fundraiser Packs
Downloadable Resources

We created an animated hero film in the mixed media campaign style to help them share the message and talk about the importance of Nature to our mental health. The script had to be fun and engaging, to get across the seriousness of the message, but in an accessible and friendly way. The quirky, illustrative style mixed with filmed footage and photography makes a rich and widely appealing look that that enables the film to be accessible to a diverse audience. 

The Result

Our work with the Mental Health Foundation enabled them to gain more reach and resonance this year than ever before. Through a bold creative style, clear and inclusive messaging, they have grown their following and, hopefully, helped a lot of people to improve their mental health through connecting with nature.

Some of the key highlights for this years MHAW were:


  • The Foundation secured over 25% share of voice for MHAW which is up by 3.3% compared with 2020. 


  • There were 1,654 unique media mentions of the Mental Health Foundation during MHAW reaching an estimated 58.2m people (according the Foundations media monitoring Cision), a slight increase in mentions compared to 2020 (1,410 mentions and 181.4m reach).


  • The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge engaged with MHAW by holding Mental Health Minute on Friday 14th May, 2021. This activity significantly boosted coverage alongside a widely covered mid-week visit by the Duke and Duchess to Wolverhampton. The Royal Foundation also provided a graphic of Duchess of Cambridge and a quote for the Foundation to use specifically on the Foundation’s social channels.


  • A very wide and eclectic range of celebrities and public figures engaged with the week. Some of the highlights included a Letter to Editors from Julie Walters, Gail Porter talking about mental health on C4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch and insights from Dr Radha.


  • This year for the first time Wales secured extensive quality coverage across all media types during the week. ITV News Wales at 6pm interviewed Jenny Burns live, whilst also featuring a pre-recorded interview with a case study of Ruth Knight from Standing Together Cymru as well as Natalie Sadler.


  • First time ever both Foundation’s hashtag #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek and #ConnectWithNature were trending in the UK on Twitter at #1 and #2 position on the first day of the Week.


  • Secretary of State Health Matt Hancock recorded mental health video with CEO Mark Rowland. They discussed the scale of the mental health problem and the evidenced-based preventive solutions that could be actioned to tackle this growing concern.


  • Foundation’s Programmes have been heavily featured during MHAW this year, Standing Together Cymru attracted a lot of media attention including ITV Main News Wales


  • Joint project with WWT London Wetlands Centre to assist hundreds of people gain access to nature through Blue Prescriptions Programme. This was featured on the front page of The Guardian. 


  • Over 6,000 schools pack being download showing the importance that nature plays on children’s mental health. Plus, The Week Junior puts us on the front page (circulation of 240,000 targeted at young people).


  • Over 1.1 million page views on the Foundation website, around 80% of which is from new visitors. Nature Top Tips received over 80,000 page views.


  • Engagement on Facebook grew by 45% from 2020 to 2021, even though there was a decrease in followers.


  • To date the Direct Mail Appeal has raised £10, 838 and still counting exceeding its income target of £9,000 already. The appeal focussed on the Nature Peer Education Programme for Schools and young children

Thank you for your amazing work – it's been very important for growing us and Mental Health Awareness Week as a brand.

Richard Grange - Associate Director of Communications and Media

The Mental Health Foundation

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