It wasn’t all that long ago that going to a mental health professional was considered something to keep hidden. Even the popular TV series Mad Men addressed a leading character’s mental health concern with a bit of embarrassment. Today that’s changed. With the increasing stress that life is throwing at everyone and the growing availability of mental health services.
Today it is quite common for someone to admit that they are seeing a therapist or are seeking out counseling. In fact, this actually points to society’s growing acceptance that we can – and should – take care of ourselves. After all, if we can’t take care of ourselves, how are we supposed to take care of anyone else in our life? The recognition that we all need help with the issues we are facing supports a stronger, healthier society.
Public relations is playing an essential role in strengthening this positioning. By taking the stigma out of using mental health services – and showing how this improves lives, strengthen communities and contributes to each client’s success – public relations is exactly the type of communications tools that should be used. Not only does it help spread the word about mental health issues, it encourages those who may be standing on the side lines, needing help but not knowing where to turn, to reach out and find help.
What’s the best way to find the right public relations team to help? Here are a few things to consider:
Look for a public relations firm that has strong healthcare experience.
Healthcare is a complicated industry with many moving parts. Getting a new team up to speed can be challenging enough without having to teach them the industry as well.
Define your goal.
Do you want to raise the visibility of your mental health services in a specific community? Is expanding your client base your only interest? Is there a referral network your connected to? Every program should be custom designed to meet your goals. Clearly define your goal before you begin your search.
What type of model does your organization need?
If it’s a mental health services organization with a number of facilities is a full-service agency that can handle a national program better suited for your outreach? If it’s a smaller program with a geographically specific need, would a freelance professional better fit your needs? Once you’ve defined your budget, you’ll be able to determine the type of public relations professional that will be able to truly perform for you.
Don’t forget social.
While in the past mental health was considered anything but social, today social platforms offer a great way to directly target those who are seeking referrals, ideas and tips on how to manage mental health issues.