Medicine Hat Health Foundation – Give Hope for Mental Health

Winning hearts and minds (and awards)

Want to make a difference in the community? Take some notes from the Medicine Hat Health Foundation. They’re on a mission to advance healthcare in their little corner of southeastern Alberta, working relentlessly to bring world-class tech and talent home to their hospital.

Services Used

  • Creative Services
  • Digital Marketing
  • Media Buying & Advertising
  • Social Media Management
  • Strategy & Planning
  • Web & Interactive

In 2020 – struggling with a pandemic, economic downturns, and a troubling series of suicides among young men – Medicine Hat needed more help than usual. We’d already been working with the MHHF on a new website, so they reached out and told us that they wanted to start a new campaign. It would focus on explaining, fundraising for, and improving the local options for mental health treatment. This was no quick fix, though. It was a big ask that would go on for at least a year, and likely more. Would we help them spread the word? They hardly had to finish the question. We were already nodding and taking notes. (Rule #243 in marketing: projects that make the world better are always worth doing.)

“Fine”-tuning our approach

With our goal laid out, we put on our fave lo-fi playlists and started to think about mental health in the modern world. It’s easy to ask how someone’s doing, after all. But it’s harder to get an answer beyond, “I’m fine”. You have to be able to see what people are actually saying. To us, that seemed like the seed of something bigger. People were still afraid to speak clearly, and hid their true feelings inside everything else. So why not show how damaging that can be? We made some creative that really just said, “I’m not fine.” But then we surrounded those words with endless walls of filler text, reflecting real conversations that happen every day. In these walls of words, we wanted to highlight the cracks and show the importance of digging deeper. To emphasize the importance of a genuine change in how we connect with and treat one another. This imagery began life as posters, eventually morphing into billboards, coffee sleeves, coasters, takeout containers, and more. These words became accompanying images, which lived on social media and other digital spaces. The response was picking up steam. Now we were getting somewhere.

Be good, do good

Now, we knew the concept was strong, but the reaction continued to snowball. National mental health organizations, politicians, and community leaders and influencers tagged and shared the posts. Local businesses donated products, services, and money. People began to talk and open up. All we needed were some sweet KPIs to look at. Here’s what we found. The “Give Hope for Mental Health” campaign drove up web traffic to the MHHF site by over 300%, and the fiscal year for 2021 was the best fundraising year in the Foundation’s history. Eventually, more than $400,000 was raised for mental health care in the community. Then, in May of 2022, this campaign won an Anvil Award for Public Good. We didn’t do it for the validation, but we gotta say – doing good feels pretty good.