Jack.org Does Something for Mental Health

“The Social Wall Allows Us to Give Potential Participants a Glimpse at What Do Something Can Be for Them.”

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Group of young people sitting around a table in a bright airy kitchen. They?re reading, writing, taking notes.

Jack.org is Canada’s only charity that trains young people to be mental health advocacy leaders. Through various programmes, Jack.org seeks to create awareness and teach coping mechanisms to deal with mental health challenges.

The Do Something special edition Wellness for All is a collaboration between Jack.org and the Canadian government and is particularly designed to help people overcome the difficulties that come with the pandemic.

One of those programmes is Do Something, a library of mental health initiatives. It provides actionable steps people can take to improve mental health literacy.

People can take a quiz to help them figure out which initiative is best for them or simply pick one by browsing the library. Most initiatives don’t take up a lot of time but can have a huge impact on people and communities.

Wellness for All

To promote the campaign, Jack.org is using the hashtag #WellnessForAll and — since the campaign is bilingual — the French hashtag #MieuxÊtrePourTous.

We talked to Emma Middlestadt, who is Jack.org’s Social Media Coordinator, about the campaign and the role the social wall is playing in it. Spoiler alert: There’s a fantastic bit of advice in this interview for people running multilingual campaigns!

Emma Middlestadt

Emma Middlestadt

Social Media Coordinator, Jack.org

Could you tell us a bit about Do Something: Wellness for All?

With a launch for World Mental Health Day, we, along with the Government of Canada, were thrilled to announce a special edition of Do Something that promotes mental health literacy to young people across the country. 

COVID-19 has taxed youth mental health and disrupted their support systems, and a lot of us want to know what we can do — for ourselves and our communities — in support of positive youth mental health. But it can be hard to know where to begin.

Do Something: Wellness for All empowers people all across Canada to undertake simple mental health literacy initiatives, increasing their own mental health literacy and spreading knowledge to their peers and networks. The more educated we all are about mental health, the more able we are to identify struggle before it turns to crisis and connect ourselves and our loved ones to the right supports.

What part do social media, the hashtag and the social wall play in the project?

Social media plays a major role in this campaign. Not only is it the main form of marketing, but it is also an active part of many of the initiatives that make up Do Something. For example, “Story Glory” has participants shout out a mental health resource in their community via IG Story, and a recent addition, “Health Bop” has participants curate a playlist and then share it via IG.The social wall doesn’t necessarily showcase all of these elements, but it does allow us to give potential participants a glimpse at what Do Something can be for them, and what they can consider doing on their own profiles.

The Do Something landing page on Jack.org showing the library of initiatives as well as an embed of the social media wall.
The Do Something landing page includes the library of initiatives as well as an embed of the social media wall.

You’ve used social media walls in the past, but they were usually connected to in-person events. How has the current global pandemic influenced how you run campaigns and also your mental health advocacy in general?

Correct, our initial use of social walls was for major in-person events. It was amazing to see the real-time impact of our event programming and social media’s reach. When the pandemic first hit we were forced to pivot a week out from our biggest event of the year. 

We delayed the event while we worked hard to optimize it for the online space, and keeping the social wall and embedding it on the website was a huge part of that optimization process. It allowed our network of young leaders to feel more connected as posts flowed in and filled the wall. It made the whole thing feel more socially connected despite the distance.

[We wrote about Jack.org’s last-minute pivot to the “Virtual Jack Summit Experience” in our post about crisis communication.]

How are you promoting the campaign and motivating people to use the hashtag?

We are promoting the campaign organically on all of our social platforms, through paid social ads, news features, influencer outreach, and more. All of those avenues include a reference to the hashtag and encouragement of its use. With social media being such a major component of many of the initiatives, we are also naturally encouraging the use of the hashtag without needing too heavy of a push.

You’re running the campaign simultaneously in English and French. What advice do you have for other people creating a multilingual hashtag campaign?

We are so fortunate to have francophone expertise on our team, which is really how our campaign has been able to thrive bilingually. That, and the Government of Canada’s commitment to bilingualism. When deciding the hashtag, our French team communicated with youth in our network to ensure that the French hashtag was truly connected to the English one. The key is to go beyond literal translation and ensure that the deeper meaning is something relatable to all. 

There are many ways to use a social wall

Even if you can’t show participation on a social wall — perhaps because you’re using a tool that cannot easily be shown on a social wall, such as the ephemeral Instagram Stories, or because you want to keep submissions private within a community —, you can still use a social wall for your campaign. The Do Something campaign relies on social media and the social wall as a promotion tool. 

Jack.org was already using social walls at in-person events in the past, making good use of the positive impact of social walls at events. When the pandemic put a temporary end to large gatherings, the charity found another way to get good use out of social walls, this time as a promotional tool.