Two unrelated initiatives launching in Australia this week address the issue of suicide, and interestingly both boil down to a very simple message: Talk about it.
Ad Nut has friends who have worked in suicide prevention and know this to be true. Sometimes even a short conversation can get someone past a moment of crisis. And it's not even necessary, or advisable, to try to provide solutions to the person's problems. The most powerful thing you can do is listen and empathise.
On to the campaigns.
Cummins & Partners, on behalf of the Movember Foundation (which isn't just about mustaches and prostate cancer but rather addresses a range of men's issues), has released the video above. It shows a series of men reading their own suicide notes. Powerful stuff. The campaign is timed to coincide with Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day this Saturday, and viewers are being encouraged to share the video with the hashtags #WSPD #WSPD16 and #movember.
Jim Ingram, ECD, Cummins&Partners:
Our agency has proudly taken steps into the complex world of mental health, and we are trying to do our bit to alleviate the mental health struggles many Australian’s have. For too many men, the first (and often only) time they really open up about how they are feeling, is in a suicide note. We need to help men start talking well before it ever comes to this.
The other campaign, by WPP AUNZ digital agency Fusion on behalf of a suicide-prevention charity called R U OK?, is a bit more high-concept. It involves a question-mark shaped, 3D-printed, Arduino-controlled object called Quentin, which will be carried around the country—Olympic-torch style—in an effort to initiate conversations.
According to the agency, Quentin will start "his" journey at Bondi Icebergs Sydney on R U OK? Day (tomorrow), with former rugby league player Wendell Sailor and former boxer Garth Wood as his first "keepers".
Quentin will be on tour until September 2017, issuing "conversation challenges designed to motivate each new keeper to reconnect face-to-face with people in their lives." Users will be able to interact with the device through SMS or shake it to get an "R U OK? challenge". The device will publish its activity to the R U OK? website, including kilometres travelled, challenges issued and number of keepers.
John Chaplin, MD, Fusion Sydney:
Technology is an amazing thing and has enabled us to create a ground-breaking and interactive way for people to reconnect with their family and friends. Our team has pushed the boundaries of 3D printing, mobile, SMS automation and micro-electronics to create a piece of interactive art that will help start a million conversations.
Ad Nut will have to wait and see how much of an impact Quentin can make, but even one life saved is the kind of ROI that can't be measured on a spreadsheet, so Ad Nut applauds both of these efforts.
CREDITS - 'Suicide notes talk too late'
Creative Contributors: Adam Slater, Regina Stroombergen, James Bennet, Jim Ingram & Ben Couzens, Adam Ferrier, Nikia Shepherd, Tom Ward, Emma Fox, Jess Thompson, Graeme Phillips
Production Co: Mr Smith
Producer: Helene Nicol
Director: Craig MacLean
Stills Photography: Craig MacLean
Cameraman: Matt Toll and Earle Dresner
Editor: Seth Lockwood
Post Production: Method Studios
Sound: Rodney Lowe
Sound Studio: Production Alley
Music: Bryony Marks
Camera Gear: Panavision Asia - Greg Lloyd
And additional help from:
CREDITS - 'Quentin'
Fusion for the overall project and Convert Studios for 3D modelling and production.
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