Let it out: A digital communication campaign to reduce suicide and mental health stigma in Kentucky farmers
Ward, J.M. & Witt, C.D.
Given the disproportionately high suicide rate of farmers in Kentucky and the unique cultural needs of farmers, a coalition was created to reduce the stigma of seeking help for mental health. A targeted communications campaign was developed to provide information to farmers at risk. This paper describes the development and launch of the campaign, including formative research, message development, campaign concepts, deployment of the campaign, and initial results. Events, traditional advertising, and social and digital media campaigns provided targeted brand awareness. Initial reception to the campaign was positive, especially with TV and radio watch- and listen-through rates and website traffic. The campaign requires expanded messaging and tactics and new partnerships to influence farmers. Practical and theoretical implications include the future use of paid digital strategies to confidentially influence farmers, additional research about culturally competent approaches toward subsets of farmers, and the amount of detail to provide about mental health conditions.