New Zealand's youth suicide statistics are out of control. The current crisis sees young people taking their own lives at the highest rate in the OECD. When talking to suicidal teenagers, most simply talk about feeling lost, confused and like “they don't belong”. In so many cases, they simply need to talk.
1737 was to set up as one, easy-to-remember number that people can call or text with whatever they need to talk about. Professional counsellors will listen, understand and if necessary, refer them on for more specialist support. It's part of the Government-funded National Telehealth Service and provides support for people struggling with mental health and addictions. It's free, confidential and available 24/7. The job was to make sure everyone knew what it was and how to use it.
The challenge was to launch 1737 without looking like ‘another Government Helpline’. Specifically, connect with more young people who were less likely to respond to serious hype or flash campaigns.
“How are you really feeling?” was a guerrilla campaign that used a smart insight and simple creative to remind young people that they don’t have to hide their feelings. The insight was that the standard response to “how are you?” is nearly always “good thanks”. Whether that’s true or not.
This was brought to life with Emoji street posters and simple noticeboard ‘LOST?’ posters. And it worked.
People noticed. They talked, they shared and they picked up the phone to ask for help. By the end of the year, campaign objectives were smashed.