Campaign launched to urge students to seek help for mental wellness
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida’s Counseling and Wellness Center and GatorWell Health Promotion Services have launched the UFlourish Social Marketing Campaign.
This comprehensive social marketing campaign is funded by a three-year, $296,000 federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The UFlourish Social Marketing Campaign aims to remove stigmas surrounding seeking help for mental health issues and to encourage the use of protective strategies such as increased personal connectedness, increased self-care and empowerment to seek help when experiencing problems.
“In a national survey of college students in spring 2012, 45 percent reported feeling hopeless at some point in the previous year, 85 percent reported feeling overwhelmed in the past year, and 30 percent reported they had felt so depressed that it was difficult to function,” said Sherry Benton, director of UF’s Counseling and Wellness Center. “While the CWC saw 10 percent of students last year, still, many more students could benefit from additional resources to help with anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.”
Feedback from UF students gathered through focus groups and surveys was used to identify themes, refine the UFlourish brand, and develop message designs for the spring 2013 phase of the campaign. The theme for the spring is “Find Your Balance” and utilizes testimonials to encourage UF students to:
- Engage in new ways of thinking about and managing stress
- Explore new protective strategies including visiting the UF Counseling and Wellness Center to better cope with the various stresses of college life at UF
For each spring and fall semester of the three-year campaign, a new set of messages targeting various student populations will be created and released. Baseline data regarding students’ perceptions of stigma were collected in February 2013 via randomized surveys before the launch of the campaign and follow-up surveys will be conducted throughout the campaign to measure effectiveness. Focus groups will also be conducted at the end of each phase gather student feedback for campaign improvement.
The Counseling and Wellness Center and GatorWell Health Promotion Services are departments within the Division of Student Affairs.
For more information, visit the UFlourish website: gatorwell.ufsa.ufl.edu/UFlourish for more information.