foodpanda SG and SOS use cookie to break mental health silence

Foodpanda and Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) are using a cookie to encourage individuals in Singapore to open up and be honest about how they feel, in a bid to normalise talking about mental health. In conjunction with World Suicide Prevention Day and along with bubble tea brand LiHO, foodpanda will be distributing an Honest Cookie with every LiHO delivery or pick-up order made on the platform. It will also offer nearly SG$30,000 worth of marketing support to spread awareness about The Honest Cookie project.

The Honest Cookie project aims to encourage conversations around mental health awareness while bonding over food. By providing easy conversation starters around mental health, the project seeks to shift the culture from one of silence, to one of curiosity and empathy so that people who struggle with their mental wellbeing may feel more comfortable sharing their experiences and seeking help.

There are 10,000 cookies available in total, and customers will be able to get them from all LiHO outlets islandwide until stocks last. The outreach campaign was created by TBWA\Singapore and comprises a series of social media content as well as on-ground engagements that will run throughout September.

In line with its ongoing initiatives to support staff’s mental health, foodpanda will also be distributing over 300 Honest Cookies to its employees to encourage them to care for their mental health. This follows a series of initiatives that have been launched to encourage pandas to prioritise mental health, including rolling out days off to recharge, as well as organising a series of mental health awareness talks.

According to foodpanda, this is especially important during times of crisis, as past data have shown that the number of suicide deaths tend to increase after a crisis. Citing a study by the Institute of Mental Health, foodpanda said 13% of respondents reported symptoms of anxiety or depression during the pandemic.

Otavio Calixto, MD at foodpanda Singapore, said its collaboration with SOS provides a timely reminder that taking care of one’s mental health is essential, especially in such uncertain times. Together with LiHO, foodpanda wanted to make it even more convenient for its customers to get their hands on The Honest Cookie, and to encourage them to start having conversations about their feelings, Calixto explained.

Gasper Tan, chief executive of SOS added that the team is heartened by the continuous support of foodpanda and are grateful to be partnering them to encourage intergenerational and honest conversations amongst family and friends to break the silence around mental health.

"With their help, we will be able to reach out to the wider community by distributing The Honest Cookie via their merchant – LiHO. With more of such collaborations, we hope to continue building an inclusive community by reaching out to those who are facing a crisis and provide adequate support," he said.

At the same time, Asheen Naidu, TBWA\Singapore's global creative director, explained the team wanted to create a tool that guides people to have conversations about their mental health in a natural way, and begin normalising this important behaviour.

"With mealtimes being the most common time for people to get together, we decided to develop a light snack that initiates heavy conversations – helping us shift from a culture of silence, to one of openness and empathy," Naidu added.

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