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Mental illness campaign scoops marketing awards

Campaign to change attitudes toward mental illness scoops top marketing awards

The Like Minds, Like Mine project to counter stigma and discrimination towards people with experience of mental illness, scooped major marketing awards last night, says the Ministry of Health.

The high-profile project has won Marketing Magazine's 2003 Supreme Award, and the Marketing Magazine Marketing award in the Bizam Charity/Fundraising/Non-profit category.

The Ministry of Health campaign features the experiences of popular Kiwis, such as former All Black John Kirwan and others who appear with friends, who are also popular icons.

Director-General of Health Dr Karen Poutasi says the awards recognise the work of everyone involved in the project, including the Ministry, people with experience of mental illness, regional and national service providers, and supporters in their communities, as well as Huia Communications, FCB advertising and Phoenix Research, to name a few.

"Changing societies ingrained discriminatory attitudes is recognised as one of the most difficult tasks in social marketing. Like Minds, Like Mine touches a chord with many New Zealanders and has helped move people along a continuum towards accepting mental illness, rather than discriminating against it," says Dr Poutasi.

"The campaign has really planted the seeds for new ways of thinking about mental illness. It's also a tribute to those who have shared their experiences with the public, either through advertising or in their local communities, they have shown courage to help change society's perceptions."

Health Minister Annette King says the success is "fantastic news". "I am delighted the project has won such awards. The advertising particularly has been winning the hearts and minds of New Zealanders for some time, and research has shown that people related to the campaign when it comes to thinking about mental health in a different way."

Judges of the Marketing Magazine Marketing Awards said the entire project has helped make people comfortable around an area of mystery and taboo. They said the project helped remove stigmas, and it was not often you saw such dramatic changes in people's attitudes, as proven in the research.

And it's not the first time Like Minds, Like Mine has won praise. The mass media campaign also won a Gold Effie Award in the Charity/Not for Profit/Public Service category at the 2002 Effie Awards, for effectiveness in advertising.

Dr Poutasi says the ads model what the research shows - that supportive friends and colleagues can make a difference to the lives and recovery of people who experience mental illlness.

"Research shows that since viewers saw the first ads, they now want more information on mental illness, particularly how it affects people and how they can support people who experience mental illness. Local providers particularly are there to provide this information and support to their communities."

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