CASE STUDY: NHS x BIRMINGHAM MIND x LIVING WELL UK
Having worked with Living Well UK – the region’s largest consortium of mental health charities – since the close of 2019, EAST VILLAGE. has seen first-hand the incredible work of the Third Sector in stepping up to the challenge to relieve the pressure on the NHS services. We have helped raise awareness of mental health support in Birmingham and promote the services available.
Our success with Living Well UK, promoting mental health support in Birmingham, is what led to us being asked us to head-up a collaborative taskforce between NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG, Birmingham Mind and Living Well UK, to publicise the launch of a 24/7 mental health helpline, with a multi-channel communications campaign.
With the roll-out of the helpline, accompanied by a real-time LiveChat service and an email monitored by mental health professionals, this unilateral approach by the NHS and its Third Sector partners requires an equally joined-up communications approach to promote access to mental health support in Birmingham.
Aiming to drive awareness – and most importantly calls, emails, and messages – EAST VILLAGE. originally created the ‘It’s Okay’ concept, with a consumer-facing brand and campaign all about getting mental health support in Birmingham. With services seeing people at the point of crisis, a lot of our communication has been around encouraging people to seek help early on and talk about their feelings with a professional.
From the outset, the marketing campaign has been designed to reach as many people as possible, across Birmingham and Solihull – as well as showcase it as best practice throughout the UK. We have, however, focused in on specific demographics as data has been made available, adapting our channels of communication and messaging as we’ve gone along.
The taskforce saw the mobilisation of a committee, bringing comms professionals and leaders from each of the partner organisations together. EAST VILLAGE. is part of this group, meeting weekly to look at the latest call numbers, mental health headlines, and NHS stats to help inform our activity moving forwards. As well as sending press coverage as it lands, each month we provide the committee with an activity overview.
With a limited budget, we’re focused on delivering a cost-effective but wide-reaching campaign to promote mental health support in Birmingham. We use as many diverse channels as possible, to ensure we were reaching those from different communities, backgrounds, and groups, with media they are already engaging with. From press coverage and social media, to direct marketing and OOH; we look at the best methods to reach people. We also look at strategic partnerships to help promote the campaign and expand the campaign’s reach.
Our work with the NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG, Birmingham Mind and Living Well UK taskforce sees us tap into TeamEV’s extensive marketing knowledge. We’re the driving force behind the campaign; exploring new avenues to reach new audiences, as well as connecting the taskforce with organisations that we already work alongside. Our value goes way beyond securing great coverage: we continue developing the brand and creating assets for the activity being delivered on the ground.
The aim of Phase One was to broaden awareness of the provision of mental health support in Birmingham and Solihull, and the key indicator was simply the volume of calls to the helpline. In addition to the number of emails sent and LiveChats launched. Throughout the course of the campaign, we’ve continued to collate stats from the helpline, informing our plans and future activity.
We have remained focused on reaching as many people as possible, ensuring that anyone who needs mental health support in Birmingham and Solihull accesses the helpline.
We continue building on these results but have so far disseminated 90,000 flyers throughout the region: using supermarkets, vaccination centres, and Third Sector community action groups as partners. This has included the likes of Tesco, Waitrose, and Co-op.
We have run a number of paid ad campaigns, including with Reach Plc where this article published on Birmingham Live received over 2.2k readers, with an average dwell time on the page of 4m57s. In addition to this, the digital native ads, which included banner ads in related mental health articles on Birmingham Live and Business Live and a headline banner on the Birmingham Live homepage, received over 100k impressions, and clocked a total of 184 hours’ viewing time.
We have also reached 759k people, with over 1 million impressions, through adverts on digital screens located on key high streets regionally.
Our campaign has been bolstered by organic social media pushes by each of the partners, further amplified by retweets from the Birmingham City Council leader Ian Ward, the West Midlands Police, and several other prominent accounts.
The PR campaign for ‘It’s Okay’ has also achieved a great spread of regional coverage, which has helped to signpost people to the helpline too. To date, we’ve seen a combined monthly circulation of over 9 million, with a total media reach of 290k across titles.