The NHS Mid Essex group is using sponsored Facebook adverts to target young men and tell them about the free mental health support available
The paid-for Facebook adverts are set to appear on the phones and computers of men aged 18 to 45, who are ‘most at risk’ when it comes to taking their own lives.
The Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) hopes the promotional messages will encourage men to seek help for mental health issues.
Paul Stevens, Director of Chelmsford Samaritans, said it was “a great use of technology.”
The adverts promote the group’s SilverCloud programme, a programme offering free online support to help people manage stress and anxiety.
One of the adverts reads: “Lads, the next time you feel like telling yourself to ‘man up’ remember that mental health does not discriminate.
“It affects us all regardless of our gender... We know things can get tough, but let us help you get your life back on track.”
According to Daniel Doherty, Director of Clinical Commissioning, the adverts so far have received “great results”.
An earlier trial (lasting four weeks and costing £300) promoting the group's Health in Mind service saw the number of visitors rise from 24 visits a month, to 341.
Doherty believes this social media approach has “huge potential for the wider NHS.”
Dr Caroline Dollery, Clinical Chair for Mental Health at Mid Essex CCG, said that the online initiative had been a “cost-effective” way to attract new referrals.
And, the organisation were careful not to choose images showing “people looking really gloomy” explained Dr Dollery. Instead, they “wanted to give people a sense of hope, that they aren’t alone and can actually get better and recover.”
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45. For more information about men's mental health, visit Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM).
To read more about men's mental health and to learn just how powerful talking can be, read our interview with Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn.
For professional support, visit Counselling Directory.