Mental Health

The BBC worked with Relate to produce this animated
version of real life counselling sessions. This is perhaps
outside your budget, but it's paper equivalent, comic books
may not be. 

The importance of research
Good market research into the specific target group you want to reach can tell you two things. Firstly what you need to do to change their behaviour. This could be in terms of information, skills, attitudes or improvements in services. Secondly, it can also tell you how to reach them. This is particularly important if they aren't interested in what you have to say. In this case they aren't likely to pick up your leaflet or notice a poster. But if you start from what they're interested in, you may be able to engage them in health this way. Below are some examples of how this might be done.

Pop music
There is plenty of music about positive mental health, around topics such as resilience, connecting and giving. The website Inspiration Jukebox contains a large number of relevant songs. These could be performed live or rerecorded for CD, download or placing on YouTube, backed up relevant information. Click here to visit the site. Alternatively to see a booklet that contains, in part, information about emotional health in the form of a chart countdown click here.

Written word
Psychiatric Tales by Darryl Cunningham and Depresso by Brick are graphic novels about mental health problems. Both have been well received. Comics are not suitable for many target groups in the UK. However, some BME groups are more comfortable with the format. Click here for more information.

Stand up could be used to gently point out the absurdities or contradictions of life and discuss alternative, more emotionally healthy ways of being. For more information on health and comedy generally click here.

Computer games
There have been a number of computer games around mental health e.g. about divorcing parents or other issues of interest to young people. For more information click here and scroll down.

Behaviour on the terraces and on the pitch is often different from everyday life. People react more, e.g. men hugging each other in joy, 'easy' violence, tears of disappointment. This may offer a way into discussing emotional and mental health from a perspective that some target groups might find more acceptable. 
For an example that might be adaptable for the workplace click here. For more information on using football generally click here.

Fashion and beauty
In Western society, at least, how you look is connected with mental health, e.g. anorexia. But perhaps fashion can also be used for good i.e. to engage certain target groups. Maybe Ann Summers type parties could be run by health workers on themes around relationships and emotions. To make them more engaging the workers could also make use of music and comedy. For more about this go to pages 89-91. For more on using fashion generally click here.

(For references click
 here and links click here

To download the whole 180 page report on using popular culture to tackle health inequalities click here

To download the PDF software to be able to view these files click here