Bateman Case Study Competition team implements campaign on mental health

Bateman Case Study Competition team implements campaign on mental health

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 10:15am
Redirect the conversation logo
Redirect the conversation logo
Poster signed by students from UNL about how they will redirect the conversation
Poster signed by students from UNL about how they will redirect the conversation

by Savanah Baker

The College of Journalism and Mass Communications’ ADPR 339/439 Student Competitions course continued its launch of its “Redirect the Conversation” campaign with an event on the Union Green Space on Thursday, March 9. The campaign, which focuses on destigmatizing how people talk about and view mental health, is part of the annual Bateman Case Study Competition (BCSC). The BCSC is a national case study opportunity in which students apply what they’ve learned in the classroom and from internships to create a public relations campaign.

This year, the BCSC partnered with the Campaign to Change Direction. This campaign works to change the culture of mental health in America by having students in the competition draw attention to the five signs of mental suffering: change in personality, agitation, withdrawal, decline in personal care and hopelessness.

The class consists of a five-member team: Erin Lenz, Cassandra McCormick, Bari Pearlman, Karlie Powell and Elizabeth Snyder. The team researched mental health last semester, and then used the spring semester to create and implement a campaign on UNL’s campus.

“The research from our first semester…showed us that people were aware of mental health and that they, themselves, didn’t have a stigma about it, but they were worried other people did,” said Pearlman, a junior ADPR major and the campaign’s media relations director. “So, the stigma wasn’t there, but the perception of it was.”

This information helped the team focus the campaign on making conversations about mental health as common as those about physical health. It was important to bring to attention that all students have mental health, whether or not they suffer from a mental health condition.

“This has made me realize it’s more (than) mental illness, it’s also about keeping your mental health healthy,” said Lenz, a senior ADPR major and copywriter for the campaign. “I’ve focused on this with myself, too, so it’s helped me learn a lot about myself and my mental health.”

The event on the Union Green Space, which included food for students who stopped, as well as information on the campaign, resulted in the team making connections with 110 students, bringing their student connection total from the whole campaign to over 1,000. The team was able to reach students through events, social media, a UNL Snapchat takeover, as well as by speaking in classes and with clubs.

“Students only have 30 days to execute the campaign,” said Sheri Sallee, the adviser for the class and an assistant professor of practice at the CoJMC. “It’s more than just a pitch, it’s an actual implementation.”

The competition judging will take place in two phases with the first phase beginning in April. In May, the three finalist teams will present their campaigns to a panel of client representatives and Public Relations Society of America members, at a location yet to be determined. PRSA pays travel and hotel costs (not including incidentals) for the finalist teams and one adviser from each team.

The first-place team will receive $3,500 and a trophy; second-place team will receive $2,500 and a plaque; and the third-place team will receive $1,500 and a plaque. The finalist teams will be recognized during the Public Relations Student Society of America 2017 National Conference in Boston, Massachusetts.