Mental Health Awareness Month—how brands are supporting the cause

Mental Health Awareness Month—how brands are supporting the cause

Mental Health Awareness Month is a time for brands to help change the perceptions around mental health in the marketplace and workforce. Companies are encouraging mental health movements as they take social media breaks and release campaigns that emphasize the power of the "pause." 

Two years into the pandemic, health and wellness continues to be an important topic throughout the industry. Check out how brands have stepped outside the box, and in some cases into distant galaxies and virtual worlds, to spark conversations around mental health this year. 

Related: Four health and wellness marketing trends to watch

PepsiCo sparkling water brand Soulboost is bringing people to their happy places this month through its “Great Reshuffle Reset” sweepstakes. Five winners will receive $5,000 from the brand to take a trip of their choosing. 

Over the last couple of years, millions of Americans have been quitting and changing jobs as part of "The Great Resignation." Soulboost wants individuals to rant about their work experiences and share why they deserve a break during the Great Reshuffle. The sweepstakes began on May 3 and ends May 20.

MTV Entertainment Group announced that it would host a Mental Health Youth Action Forum featuring leading media and technology companies. Pinterest, Snapchat, Spotify, Upworthy, Yahoo, YouTube and Zoom are among the companies participating in the event along with MTV in Washington. 

Working in collaboration with the Biden-Harris administration and 18 mental health nonprofit organizations, MTV Entertainment is creating a space for young individuals to share their ideas with these large companies. Executives such as Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann and Upworthy VP Lucia Knell will co-develop and amplify mental health campaigns created by 30 young leaders during the event.

On May the 4th, users of the Headspace meditation app were able to leave their stressors in a galaxy far, far away with the brand's Star Wars-themed content. The collaboration brought four animated breathing exercises, featuring Yoda, BB-8, Chewbacca and R2-D2, to meditators looking to feel less stressed at lightspeed. The app also released three new sleepcasts, audio stories where listeners will find themselves on an X-Wing Voyage, in a Tatooine Sunset or on the Islands of Ahch-To.

Alo Moves, the platform by Alo Yoga, expanded its content beyond its usual realm in hopes of destigmatizing mental health. Alo Moves took its meditative space into the metaverse, creating The Alo Sanctuary in Roblox, a virtual island surrounded by lavender seas. Sanctuary visitors complete mindfulness challenges and engage with daily meditations. Those who would like to continue their mental health journey outside of Roblox will be offered a free two-month trial to Alo Moves.

Throughout May, the brand will be adding daily affirmations, intention setting tools and two new instructors to their catalog of features. To make mindfulness more accessible, new users will have access to Alo Moves for free for the entire month and can purchase its annual membership for 50% off. 

Ice cream company Jeni’s wanted to add a ray of light to its product line with its latest flavor, Sunshine. Although the packaging for the pint of ice cream is as gray as a rain cloud, the taste is filled with bright citrus flavors, such as lemon, passion fruit and tangerine. 

Jeni’s partnered with On Our Sleeves, a nonprofit organization working towards breaking the stigma around children’s mental health, for the relaunch of the product. The company will be donating $25,000 to On Our Sleeves, which will distribute Kindness Kits that provide resources and activities that teach kindness to 30,000 kids in classrooms. 

A limited-edition sweatshirt inspired by Sunshine and its mission was available through a collaboration between Jeni’s and streetwear band Lonely Ghost.

Walmart announced its launch of Mental Health First Aid training sessions for employees. The sessions take place virtually and in person at the retailer's headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, and will show workers how to identify, understand and respond to people who are struggling with mental health challenges. Walmart also launched a proactive pilot program with healthcare company AiRCare Health that will ask employees enrolled in Walmart’s medical plan how they are doing.

Related: Why L.L. Bean is going dark on social media this month

Outdoor media company Outfront Media Inc. worked with mental health-focused clothing brand Madhappy to launch a three-dimensional campaign in Times Square. Messages “Peace of Mind,” “Treat Yourself Like Someone You Love” and “Let Go To Grow” were displayed using full-motion screens. 

Madhappy also has billboards throughout Los Angeles with the same uplifting messages. The campaigns were in conjunction with the brand's Mental Health Awareness Month apparel capsule. Starting on May 13, 1% of all Madhappy proceeds are going toward the advancement of mental health via a portfolio of accredited organizations.

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