Mental illnesses are common in the United States, yet there is still a lot of stigma surrounding it compared to other physical illnesses. Yet, most people don’t seek treatment or feel uncomfortable talking about mental health. These untreated mental illnesses cost America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year. In addition, individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of having chronic medical conditions (Source)
Some key facts (Source – NAMI)
in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year illness (57.8 million in 2021).
1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-14
In 2019, iHeartMedia, in partnership with National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) and Child Mind Institute, launched the Let’s Talk campaign with the hope of starting a national conversation, normalizing the mental health and reducing the stigma associated with it.
For the last several years, iHeart has worked with leading mental health organizations focused on improving mental wellness for both adults and children. These partnerships with organizations including the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Child Mind Institute are designed to raise awareness of mental health issues and foster a culture within communities that supports talking about mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
iHeart’s long-term commitment to mental health began in 2019 with the launch of the company’s signature mental health program — iHeartMedia’s “Let’s Talk” — which includes elements like weaving a virtual support system through iHeartMedia’s 850 broadcast radio stations for people struggling with anxiety and depression to let them know they are not alone, and encouraging listeners to check in on the people in their lives by starting a conversation around mental health.
iHeart is dedicated to amplifying our focus on this important issue and cintinues to respond to these mental health challenges by fostering relationships with the most impactful organizations addressing mental wellness across our country with a goal of reducing stigma through candid conversations, informing audiences about resources they can find in their communities and encouraging anyone suffering to seek help.
In 2023, during National Mental Health Awareness Month, iHeartMedia partnered with a number of organizations, including National Alliance on Mental Illness, Child Mind Institute, Mental Health Coalition, Happy Jack and others for a multi-campaign initiative to address the mental health crisis in the United States and the unique mental health needs and resources for various groups of listeners.
Additionally, Charlamagne Tha God, Co-host of “The Breakfast Club,” iHeartMedia; Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Black Effect Podcast Network; Senior Creative Officer of Cultural Content and Programming, iHeartMedia, hosted the 3rd annual Mental Wealth Expo, a free event featuring experts on everything mental health, panels, live podcasting, and breakout rooms including MEternal, addressing the complexities of the Black maternal health crisis. Breakout rooms hosted by mental health professionals and field experts will explore various mental health topics including anxiety, depression, PTSD and psychosis; children and teen mental health; writing as a tool for collective liberation and more.
iHeartMedia aired across all its 850 radio stations 30-second audio clips of artists and celebrities sharing heartfelt words of encouragement and advice around mental health. Listeners also got a chance to hear these celebrities share intimate details and their own vulnerabilities to normalize the conversation surrounding mental health. Celebrities gave listeners one piece of advice they would have given their younger selves to better cope with anxiety, depression and other mental health-related issues.
All PSAs drove back to the mental health website where listeners could learn more about the campaign and tap into curated resources for people looking to get help or be a support for the people in their lives going through a difficult time. (http://iheartradio.com/talk).
PSAs encouraging people to check out the Let’s Talk campaign were aired across 850 stations in 50 markets in the United States. Listeners were also encouraged to reach out to Crisis Textline if they are in immediate crisis.
Power of celebrities
Many celebrities, including Kristen Bell, Wayne Brady, Weezer, Pete Wentz, Charlamagne Tha God, Imagine Dragons, came together for the campaign bringing awareness to mental illness and sharing their own personal stories and struggles with depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses.
Power of on-air personalities and influencers
iHeartMedia on-air personalities are synonymous with companionship. Fans and listeners tune in daily to listen to their favorite show and hear news and advice from their favorite DJ host. These influencers further use their social media account to further connect with their fan base and give a glimpse in their personal life. iHeartMedia leveraged the power of its on-air personalities to communicate a powerful message to listeners about the campaign on-air and on social media.
Digital and social media placement
iHeartMedia ran ads directing websites visitors to the mental health campaigns. Ads ran throughout the year across all iHeartMedia radio stations’ websites. In addition, iHeartMedia promoted the campaign in iHeartRadio newsletters and on iHeartRadio social media platforms cumulating over 200 million followers.
Since 2019, iHeartmedia multi-campaign mental health initiative generated approximately 1 billion impressions across iHeartMedia combined assets, on-air, digital and social, the equivalent of $11.5 million in ad value.
By visiting the Let’s Talk Mental Health site, listeners accessed curated resources published by NAMI and the Child Mind Institute, guides to starting the conversation with a friend, child or healthcare provider, a symptom checker and general information on mental health.