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Katherine Ponte: A Mental Illness Recovery Journey

Entered in Mental Health

Objective

 

Mainstream mental health campaigns have significant shortcomings.

 

 

Our Recovery Journey Video is like no other mental illness video out there.  It was made by and for people living with serious mental illness and their families. We made it to inspire the millions of people living with serious mental illness that recovery from serious mental illness is possible. More specifically, it is possible to live a full and meaningful life with serious mental illness. Our founder talks about her struggles, what inspired her recovery, and how to reach recovery – sharing insights and hope.

 

We also created the video to introduce the first free online peer support community dedicated to people living with or supporting someone with mental illness, ForLikeMinds. ForLikeMinds is an online community for people affected by mental illness to easily come together to realize the power of peer support.

Strategy

 

ForLikeMinds emerged from Katherine’s recovery in 2016 after struggling with severe bipolar I disorder with psychosis for over 15 years. During much of this time, Katherine lived in near complete isolation and withdrawal due to long periods of suicidal depression, multiple relapses, and numerous hospitalizations.  Prior to 2018, neither Katherine nor ForLikeMinds was previously known in any media, including social media form. We had a limited budget. We did not have the backing of celebrities. We did not have a well-known organization with name recognition or a built-in user base supporting us.

 

As we could not find any videos comparable to ours, we did not know how the video would be received. Our strategy was simple. We decided to distribute our video/campaign as a Sponsored Facebook Post, in addition to multiple grassroots efforts.

 

The video was shot in 6 hours, it cost $1,500 to produce, and $5,000 has been spent on advertising it.

 

At a grassroots level, we have also promoted the video through:

 

  1. Sharing our lived experience in over 30 blog posts published in leading mental health blogs, including 10 blog posts in the leading mental health blog in the U.S. for the  National Alliance on Mental Illness. We also published an article in a leading peer reviewed academic journal, Schizophrenia Bulletin, as we also wanted to reach people who treat people with serious mental illness;
  2. Our video has been viewed by patients in psychiatric units. Katherine visits units to share her lived experience and inspire hope in those most who need it most. She delivers donated greeting cards through a program she created called Psych Ward Greeting Cards;
  3. Participation at numerous mental health conferences across the country where she shares her personal lived experience with other participants;
  4. Active involvement in the mental health community, including serving as a Board Member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City;
  5. Several highly informative newsletters to a growing subscriber base comprised of people living with mental illness, their families, clinicians, academics, and organizations;
  6. Her website ForLikeMinds where she actively engages the website’s members to share their own lived experiences;
  7. Her Facebook Page with a quickly growing audience where she posts inspiring and encouraging posts. Her Facebook Page has very high engagement rates often higher than the Facebook Pages of many leading mental health non-profits; and
  8. Reaching out to family members of people living with mental illness. This caregiver community is overlooked, but they are in as much need of support as people living with mental illness and are in a position to critically influence the care of their loved one.

 

It is important to note that all promotion has been done exclusively by Katherine alone without any outside support and resources.

Results

 

Our video has been extremely well received.

 

The video has been running as a Sponsored Facebook Post since September, 2018.

 

The results include:

 

  1. Over 155,000 views
  2. Over 3,000 organic views
  3. Over 200,000 people reached
  4. Over 20,000 clicks to ForLikeMinds website
  5. Thousands of engagements on Facebook, including emojis and shares
  6. Hundreds of moving feedback comments
  7. Contributed to the growth of our ForLikeMinds user base to nearly 10,000
  8. Over 9,000 followers on Facebook Page

 

Given the success of our Sponsored Facebook Video Ad, we also created a number of inspiring and encouraging static image Sponsored Facebook Posts. Our most popular “Mental Illness Strong” and “Mental Illness Warrior” images have reached over 300,000 people.

 

We have been deeply moved and touched by the feedback we have received and the hundreds of discussions our Sponsored Facebook Posts have sparked.

 

We continue to explore ways to authentically share our message of hope - Despite how deep, how long your struggle, you can get better, you can live a full and meaningful life of your own choosing. Our Recovery Journey Video has been the foundation for this approach and mission. It has required Katherine to open up publicly about her struggles, but she recognized the power of real-life example and sharing with her peers.

Media

Video for Katherine Ponte: A Mental Illness Recovery Journey

Produced by

ForLikeMinds

Links

Entry Credits

About the Shorty Awards

The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media.

Millions of people participate in The Shortys to recognize individuals and organizations producing great content on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, TikTok, and the rest of the social web.

The Shorty Social good awards late deadline is on september 18, 2019.