As a marketing communications agency, specializing in higher education and the ability to deliver authentic brand stories, you can image that our file servers are overflowing with folders of youthful smiles, cheering fans, and campus quad comradery. The fact is, we are experts at drilling in to find what sets one university apart from another, and then bringing that differentiation to life, in pixels, print, audio and video.
Need a refreshed brand position? We’ve got you.
Need to launch a new academic program or format? No problem.
Need to talk about depression, anxiety and mental disorders? Wait, what?
The fact is that, while we spend our days sharing the very best experiences colleges have to offer, there is another side to campus life that—in the name of authenticity—can’t be ignored; nor should it be. So, when the Health Services team of a major public university recently asked for our help branding an innovative program designed to support students who might be grappling with mental, physical and spiritual well-being, we were all ears.
Amid the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic and students of all ages caught in the emotional riptide, Overwhelmed, a study by The Chronicle of Higher Education, couldn’t have been any timelier in its release. In it, Sarah Brown, lays out a compelling call to arms surrounding the issue of mental health on U.S. campuses—a call that we at EFK forecast will be taking a very large step forward in the college communications hierarchy.
No doubt, leaving the nest and heading off to campus is an important developmental transition. But for an increasing number of students, it’s a transition fraught with elevated mental and emotional stressors. This is only compounded by the fact that, increasingly, more and more college-age students began coping with mental and emotional challenges in their earlier years. According to Brown, the number of students showing up at college counseling centers has jumped by an average of 30 to 40 percent; a pace far exceeding the number of incoming students, itself, by as much as five to six times. The result is a tidal wave of students in need of mental health support services and, in the majority of cases, not enough resources to accommodate them.
While there is great debate over to what degree colleges and universities are accountable for fulfilling the need, Shin vs MIT, the Jed Foundation and the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act make it clear—if a student expresses a need for help, a school better darn-well document and address the situation. And, in the interest of student success and completion rates, they are motivated to do so.
This is where we come in.
Here, at EFK, we’re finding that university health and wellness experts are increasingly claiming a rightful seat at the university marketing table and getting the finance support they need to effectively communicate the programs they are crafting—ranging from group counseling, stepped intake, teletherapy, peer group inclusion, and outsourcing. And, with that, effective and better funded communication programs, promoting mental health will be at the forefront of university marketing going forward.
If you or your team would like to discuss how we can help to promote your school’s health and wellness services, particularly as your campus returns to its “new normal” post-COVID-19, we’d be happy to talk through solutions that might include the creation of:
- A fully-ownable and brand-aligned Mental Health and Wellness program, that makes your program memorable and utilized.
- Engaging video content that continually reminds students of the importance of maintaining a healthy mind, spirit and attitude.
- One-stop Mental Health and Wellness landing pages and portals, that put students just one-click away from teletherapy, classes and workshops or call for help.
- And more!
Contact EFK Group at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us 609.393.5838.