Our Better World (OBW), the digital storytelling initiative of the Singapore International Foundation, tells stories across Asia to inspire people to take action and create a positive impact in the world.
At OBW, we create specific series so you can dive deeper into a single cause, topic or issue. Our Mental Health Series is entitled Silent No More - Giving Voice to Mental Illness. We do this series because mental health affects all of us – including everyone we love. We can all do something about it.
Stigma - from public or self - and lack of awareness of symptoms are two common reasons preventing people with mental conditions from seeking treatment. Most mental illness related research as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO) cite fighting against stigma as crucial for the work of improving mental health in the world.
In 2020, our stories for this series focused on those who are caring for people with mental illness. We recognised the need to care for the caregivers as they are indispensable to the recovery of those in their care. At times, caregivers of persons with mental illness face additional burden due to the stigma surrounding mental health. They too need support to care for themselves as well as their loved ones.
The series objectives:
1. Raise awareness to reduce stigma towards people with mental health conditions
2. Increase the empathy for people with mental health conditions and/or their parents and caregivers
3. Encourage more conversations about mental health
The year 2020 was the second year of our Mental Health Series "Silent No More: Giving Voice to Mental Illness." In 2019, the series focused on youth and mental health. In 2020, the focus shifted to the invisible yet indispensible heroes: the caregivers of people with mental illness.
The objectives of the 2020 series:
(1) raise awareness and reduce stigma by shedding light on the invisible weight of caregivers and their own experience of stigma and isolation
(2) increase empathy and appreciation for caregivers's indispensable role in the recovery of those they care for
(3) inform caregivers of the support that is available to them and encourage them to reach out for that support
We produced multiple pieces of content for this series. The main ones were the three stories highlighted the caregiving work of Caregivers Alliance in Singapore, KPSI in Indonesia and Manav Foundation in India.
In addition to the three original video stories, we premiered our first interactive video that takes viewers on an emotional ride of how a father manoeuvres his interactions with his son in the aftermath of his son's failed suicide attempt. Viewers get to decide what action the father chooses to take at certain junctures, to get a sense of the difficulties and challenges of the situation.
Blogs from caregivers of people with mental health conditions were part of the campaign as a way for caregivers themselves to share their journey and experience. Rounding off the content for this series are mental health resources including those specific to caregivers on the myths and realities of caregiving and finding the support they need.
The campaign rolled out on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter and focused on audiences in Singapore, Indonesia, India, Malaysia and the Philippines. After launching the content on social, we organised our first virtual community event where we had the founders and leaders of the non-profits we featured in the series to talk about what it takes to care for the caregivers, and how everyone can play a part in ensuring that the mental health of caregivers is also addressed.
The three stories from Singapore, Indonesia and India, as well as the supporting interactive video garnered a total of 4.3 million views across Facebook, Instragram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn and on our site. The stories encouraged 3,644 actions which included shares, comments, donations, enquiries and volunteer signups.
Our goals were to increase awareness to reduce stigma, increase empathy for caregivers and encourage caregivers to seek support. These goals can’t be measured just by view counts. We carried out a dipstick survey on the series page on our site and it revealed that:
Among 107 respondents who were caregivers, 76% rated 4 and above (out of five) the statement that they were more encouraged to seek support after watching the stories.
For 166 respondents who had mental health conditions or are caregivers of people with mental illness, 70% agreed that the stories help reduce stigma around people with mental illness and their caregivers. 74% of them thought the stories help to improve people's understanding and empathy with caregivers.
For 162 respondents who have not experienced mental illness and who aren't caregivers, 92% agreed that they were more aware about the stigma after viewing the stories. 86% strongly agreed that the videos helped them better understand and empathise with people with mental illness and their caregivers.
"For the first time I saw a story talking about caregivers, which is often an ignored element.
"There is help (for caregivers), and it is not a crime to seek help as a caregiver."
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