Many people experiencing mental health and addiction issues die much earlier than the general population, with a two to three times greater risk of premature death (defined as dying before the age of 65). Two-thirds of this is due to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other treatable physical illnesses. Determined to impact this inequity, Equally Well has launched the SEE US activation campaign.

The campaign was launched at the end of July in South Auckland at Ember’s Huia Road Hub and was attended by over 50 delegates including those from Nōku te Ao, NZ Heart Foundation, The Cancer Society, Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand Te Toka Tumai Auckland, The Salvation Army, Pathways, Te Pou, Penina Trust, NZ Drug Foundation, Mind and Body, Crawford Medical and Arataki Ministries. It was a great success with many delegates pledging to activate it as part of their communications programmes.

Designed to overcome diagnostic overshadowing (when mental health and addictions health histories overshadow physical health needs) the campaign draws attention to the issue by giving a platform to the voice of lived experience and providing a multimedia toolkit for Equally Well partners. This toolkit includes:

  • Video clips and web banners to raise awareness of the diagnostic overshadowing
  • Communication templates for electronic media and printed communications that will allow sector organisations to incorporate the key message of “SEE US – Look beyond the health history – see the person” as part of their own marketing.

Central to the campaign are the stories of Rika, Jess and Ross for whom diagnostic overshadowing is all too familiar. Their stories can be viewed here.

Simon Kozak, who is both the marketing and communications manager at Ember Korowai Takitini, as well as the marketing lead in the Equally Well backbone team, says:

“Our hope is that the video clips and banners will start to appear across sector platforms to highlight the challenges faced by our whai ora and that the templates will be adopted by sector bodies to form part of their marketing efforts. All players constantly communicate – whether launching a new product, requesting response to survey or promoting a course of action or regular updates – using the SEE US toolkit. It provides a templated platform to merge those communications with a call to action to be deliberately active about those experiencing mental health and addiction issues.”

Read the full story and see photos of the launch event here.

For information and to get involved in the campaign, contact either Meghan or Simon.
You can download a user guide and resources ready to go here.