How Brands Activated for Mental Health Awareness Month

May 28, 2021 9:00 AM ET

This week brings us to the tail end of Mental Health Awareness Month. This year, the observance is especially important as CDC studies found that 42 percent of Americans reported anxiety or depression symptoms due to the pandemic. Companies are taking note, leveraging new and existing programs to help address this complex issue. Today, we examine how three brands are uniquely bringing attention and devoting resources to an increasingly pressing subject for Americans.

  • Saks Fifth Avenue marked this month through a series of in-person and online activations. At the brand’s flagship store, it is hosting an Intention Garden where customers can write and ‘plant’ their mental health intention. Customers can also use the space to write a letter to a person who supported them in their mental health work that Saks will then stamp and mail. Lastly, the luxury department store is utilizing its social media platforms to give space to mental health influencers and nonprofit partners of its foundation to share tips and suggested actions to further individuals’ wellness journeys. 
  • Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty brand took this month to launch a Mental Health 101 campaign specifically designed to support Gen Z. The landing page for the initiative quotes the alarming CDC statistics that “suicide is the second leading cause of death in the Gen Z community and yet only 16 percent of all children receive mental health assistance in school.” The beauty brand is fighting to change these figures through a social media campaign and by bringing attention to the cause and to the company’s petition calling on philanthropists to fund access to mental health resources. Additionally, Rare Beauty will be encouraging and matching donations up to $200,000 to its Rare Impact Fund through the end of the month.
  • Pinterest found users’ overall searches for ‘Mental Health Awareness Month’ on its platform doubled this year compared to last. In response to this finding, it devoted $10 million over the next year toward organizations working to close gaps in access, improve research and bring awareness to other mental health inequities. The social media company is also donating to and partnering with advocacy group #HalfTheStory “to inspire moments of digital wellness through conscious content and democratize tools for healthy tech consumption and effective advocacy.”

In the midst of the pandemic, our research found that over a third of Americans said that they were concerned that mental health would be negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis – with another half of the respondents saying they look to companies to innovate solutions to create a “new normal.” The fact that even as the pandemic recedes here in the United States, the impacts of this crisis will be long-lasting, including to mental health. Companies must think about how they can continue to support overall mental health now and far into the future.