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Shining a Light on the Mental and Emotional Burden of Chronic Skin Disease

Entered in Earned Media


Chances are you know at least one person impacted by a chronic skin condition as more than 31 million Americans have eczema and over 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis (Sources: National Eczema Association and National Psoriasis Foundation). But, for those living with chronic skin conditions, the impact extends well beyond red, itchy, dry skin to affecting emotional and mental health. 

Patients aren’t always comfortable seeking help to address the full impacts of uncontrolled disease, or don’t realize the steps they take to compensate for gaps in care or shortcomings in treatment. 

As a dermatology leader with approved treatments for atopic dermatitis (the most common form of eczema), and plaque psoriasis, AbbVie saw an opportunity to better support patients by heightening the dialogue around the impact of chronic skin disease on mental health with an earned-first program.  

This topic would become the centerpiece of its Science of Skin program, a multi-year initiative aimed at elevating diverse voices within dermatology and supporting AbbVie’s ongoing efforts to address critical issues for people living with immune-mediated skin diseases. The initiative had garnered minimal trade and industry media interest in its first two years, but AbbVie knew that to truly support patients, it needed to generate broader media interest to break through to the consumer audience in 2023. Objectives included: 


To inform the approach, AbbVie evaluated published literature, traditional and social media conversation, and convened an advisory board of physicians, patients and advocates. Findings reinforced an important intersection between mental health and chronic skin conditions, as well as unmet patient needs. These findings fueled the focus of the program, an NYC-based media event – “Science of Skin: The Psychosocial Impact of Chronic Skin Disease” – featuring expert perspectives to highlight the connection between chronic immune-mediated skin diseases and mental health. The discussion was led by celebrity designer, author and HGTV co-host Nate Berkus who, for the first time, shared his personal struggle with psoriasis, alongside fellow patients, healthcare professionals and advocacy leaders.  

This panel of influential voices provided a media-centric discussion on topics including how healthcare professionals can foster improved dialogue with their patients to strengthen trust and better achieve more holistic and successful outcomes.  

With 90% of Americans reporting the U.S. faces a mental health crisis (Source: Kaiser Family Foundation), the importance of mental health has deservedly become a hot topic, garnering media attention and generating significant conversation online. The team tapped into these broader media trends and conversations surrounding mental health and wellness and skin care, developing tailored pitches that leaned into reporters’ areas of interest. Reporters were also offered interviews with panelists that would be of most interest to their specific outlet and/or beat. This included an opportunity for an exclusive interview with Nate Berkus where he publicly disclosed his struggles living with psoriasis to “launch” AbbVie’s 2023 Science of Skin initiative.  

To elevate the voices of patients and healthcare professionals, select panelists from the event engaged their social audiences with curated content that educated their followers about chronic skin disease and showcased their individual experiences.  

The perspectives of high-profile talent and participating patients living with chronic skin conditions would lend insight to the discussion regarding the ongoing emotional stresses of living with a skin disease. These insights would provide relatability for fellow patients and showcase unknown challenges to the broader media and consumer audience.  

By leveraging touchpoints including the expert roundtable discussion, earned media storytelling, influencer engagement and social media amplification, the initiative was designed to drive audiences across the community and country to a newly-created campaign landing page that provided access to educational resources, support and information on how to learn more about chronic skin disease.  


This approach provided patients living with chronic skin conditions an authentic platform to share their stories and celebrate their resiliency by tapping into reporters at relevant outlets and amplifying via social. Overall, the 2023 Science of Skin initiative exceeded every established KPI, reaching a broad consumer audience of potential dermatology patients.  ​ 

Elevating National Awareness:​ 

Creating Connections with the Skin Disease Community: ​ 

Activating Patients to Seek Resources and Care:​ 


Video for Shining a Light on the Mental and Emotional Burden of Chronic Skin Disease

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Ogilvy Health, AbbVie


Entry Credits