Governments of many developed countries are faced with the increasing rates of mental health problems. Research by Murray and Lopez (1996) has found that mental health problems could increase the global disease burden share by roughly half, from a current 10. 5% share burden to a projected 15% share burden by 2020. The outcome of mental health problems and diseases can be implicated with specific personal, social and economic costs (WHO, 2004).
For instance an example taken from Donovan et al (2006) hypothetically asserts that depression could lead to drinking in excess or drug abuse which then could lead to a motor accident; anger not dealt proactively could lead to violence towards female partners and children which can lead to physical costs and consequential dysfunctional behaviours; mental problems such as depression can impinge on eating habits and limit physical activity and so forth.
Previous campaigns have focused their efforts mainly on the de-stigmatisation of mental illness or the early identification of those at risk of developing mental illness and those already suffering mental health problems (European commission 2004). Though there are also campaigns aimed at promoting positive mental health, the Act- Belong,-Commit campaign is unique in that it is a community wide promotional campaign intending to get people wanting to keep themselves and others mentally healthy.
The Western Australian Health Promotion Foundation (Heathway) used qualitative research with people of the general public as well as mental health professionals to form a campaign in Western Australia with the purpose of getting people within a community to sustain a healthy mental state by getting people involved in individual and community activities, thereby reducing the climbing risk of developing a mental health problem. The intended impact was individual and community well being.
The focus of the campaign was two-fold: To promote ways individuals can improve health through individual and community based activities but also to unify organisations within the community around the theme of strengthening positive mental health. Evaluative components such as telephone surveys measured the eminence of mental health promotion by asking questions surrounding peoples understanding of mental health and what they believe they could do for their own and others mental health. Also, collaborative organisations were asked to record mental health intervention activities at the end of each month .
Also, the extent to which campaigns generate demand for mental health services were also monitored. Situation Analysis The campaign has made considerable effort to evaluate both micro and macro- level environments commissioned through qualitative research. The factors arising from the microenvironment include resources, partners (organisations), past performance and internal publics :For example a person can Act by playing or learning a musical instrument, belong by joining or forming a band and commit by becoming the band leader. Such reframing of beliefs and carrying out of objectives entails potential barriers.
Although most participation in events and activities aligned with this campaign do not involve fees , activities that do require a monetary outlay may be rationalised as barriers. There are also psychological barriers, for instance the perceived time wasted, undue effort and dealing with potential shyness when meeting new people. Should the target audience overcome the barriers to adopting the behaviour they will gain the core benefit of good mental health in exchange for participants getting involved in activities conveyed in the Act- Belong-Commit messages.
Whilst the benefit offered to organisations were the greater capacity to reach and perhaps go beyond their organisational goals in exchange for promoting their activities under this campaign. The wellbeing of children whose caregivers showed signs of reduced stress and agitation saw a happier environment and consequential quality exchanges between parent and child. In alignment with the benefits to the target groups are the benefits to community such as building a sense of community unity and building a stronger sense of a cohesive community by fostering connections between government, non-government organisations and community groups.
Competitive analysis Keeping physically, socially and mentally active via getting involved with the community or taking up personal goals and achieving them are attributed to positive mental health. Therefore the competitive behaviour for the target audience were tendencies in society that contributed poorly to the aid of mental health. For instance inactivity or unstimulating activities (e. g. extended television watching or internet browsing) as well as other competitive alternate behaviours such as those that might actually harm mental health such as substance abuse ( e. g. taking of illicit drugs or drinking alcohol in excess).
The audience of this campaign may perceive a number of benefits from the above activities. Watching television or browsing the internet for extended periods of time may be seen as a way to pass time, as well as sometimes being educational and interesting. Television and such inactive forms of pastimes are also usually turned to by those who don’t seek (or aren’t given the opportunities) more beneficial activities.
In regards to the damaging activities such as substance abuse, perceived benefits are that some people may feel more accepted by their peers if they indulge in such activities. Others use substances such as illicit drugs and alcohol as a means of escaping reality, however short lived this effect may be. While these perceived benefits do exist within the target audience, costs are visible to them also. Costs of inactivity include negative health effects, lost productivity and degrading social relationships. Some people associate such inactivity with negative mental effects as well.
Substance abuse also has costs that are recognised by the audience. Such associations include adverse health effects, lost social relationships, increased financial strain and a chance of criminal action against those who undertake in such activities in some cases. Positioning Statement We want individuals and organisations within the community to see that to keep mentally healthy by engaging in social and cognitive activities are essential to the wellbeing of common, at risk and individuals already suffering with mental problems.