The National Council of Social Service (NCSS) has launched a chatbot to encourage mental health sufferers to seek help. It was launched for the first time as part of its “Beyond the Label” campaign, which is running for the second year.
McCann Worldgroup Singapore, which was the creative agency behind the campaign, helped to develop the Facebook Messenger chatbot named "Belle" together with AI technology partner AiChat. It connects youth, adults and seniors to mental health resources and helplines, as well as educate the public with tips on how to interact and support persons with mental health conditions.
This is in line with the focus of this year's “Beyond the Label” campaign, which seeks to address mental health stigma. This includes the self-stigma imposed by people with mental health conditions due to fear and shame of their conditions, as well as misconceptions by others in social situations with people seeking recovery. Findings from the 2017 Attitude Study by NCSS found that more than one in two adults in Singapore are not willing to live with, live nearby or work with a person with mental health condition.
To present different perspectives, NCSS launched videos co-created with persons in recovery as well as their colleagues, caregivers, friends and parents. They will be distributed on outdoor and digital platforms, TV and social media.
Meanwhile, it also released outdoor and social key visuals addressing real-life stigmatising opinions and statements to encourage the public to have more honest conversations about the topic, so that people with mental health conditions can find the strength to seek help. NCSS is also engaging key content partners and influencers on social media from 28 September to end October to encourage messages of support from the community.
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To build deeper engagements with the youth, NCSS and McCann Worldgroup Singapore also jointly launched a "Creativity against mental health stigma" initiative with Temasek Polytechnic as Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) partner this year. Aspiring creative professionals from the Temasek Polytechnic School of Design are briefed to develop campaigns, products and innovations to raise mental health awareness and address the discomfort of interacting with people in recovery. Their outputs were guided by various agency professionals, and exhibited at the inaugural Beyond the Label Fest on 28 September as an educational activation.
Held at Timbre+, the pop-up market seeks to promote more meaningful conversations and deeper understanding on the topic of mental health. The event featured the “Activation Box”, an immersive multi-sensory experience comprising various experiential activities to help one understand mental health conditions and how to better support someone in distress. It is created by the Youth Alliance – a network of public agencies with representatives from government, healthcare and social service agencies, and IHLs.
McCann Worldgroup Singapore CD Alfred Wee said the Facebook page and social platforms became "safe spaces" for the public to share their stories of recovery when NCSS launched the national movement to tackle stigma towards those with mental health conditions last year. The campaign efforts are made in recognition that many are seeking more open channels of communication at home and work regarding their mental health, and easier access to mental health resources and help. "We hope the campaign messaging conveys that sentiment effectively to the ones we’ve yet to reach, and assists the yet-to-be diagnosed locate help more easily,” he added.
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