CalMHSA serves California counties and cities in the dynamic delivery of mental health and supportive services. A nationally recognized leader, CalMHSA inspires the service community through its commitment to results and values. Successful statewide and regional programs enable the voice of many to be heard.

As an on-going efficient delivery mechanism for statewide and other California mental health projects, a central component of CalMHSA's vision is to continually promote systems and services arising from a commitment to community mental health, and to the values of the California Mental Health Services Act.

Objective

Solsken PR with Runyon Saltzman Einhorn (RSE) launched a 3-year campaign aimed at reducing mental health disparities among underserved Southeast Asian communities in California. The marketing initiative was tailored for the Hmong, Cambodian and Lao communities. Our team also developed tools for the Mien communities.

Strategy

Aimed at educating the Hmong, Cambodian and Lao communities about mental health, Solsken developed a culturally appropriate approach to reaching these communities in ways that resonate with them. This included:

  • Video Stories — produced two 20-minute videos in Lao and Cambodian featuring Lao and Cambodian community members willing to speak up about their mental illnesses and what the community can do to help those who are also impacted by mental health conditions.
  • Public Service Announcements — produced six 60-second radio and TV PSAs in Lao, Hmong and Cambodian aimed at educating these communities about mental health, specifically depression and PTSD.
  • Talk Shows — worked with TV and radio media partners to air 30-minute talk shows featuring mental health specialist speakers who are in language speakers.
  • Storytelling — held a year-long storytelling contest campaign for Mien and Hmong students in Sacramento and Fresno. This resulted in dozens of stories from young people and nine winners. The winning stories are featured at EachMindMatters.org. These stories are designed to inspire and inform the Hmong and Mien communities about mental health and dispelling myths.
  • Community Forums — collaborated with community based organizations to host mental health community forums for the Hmong, Lao and Cambodian communities featuring mental health specialist speakers and speakers with lived experience. These community forums provided a safe environment for the target communities to discuss and learn more about mental health.
  • Survey Evaluation — administered pre and post campaign surveys to determine the impact our campaign made and to identify what still needs to be done.
  • Tools — developed mental health vocabulary matrix detailing key mental health terms in all the target audiences' languages including a fact sheet in all the languages dispelling myths and educating the community about mental health.

Results

  • Reached more than 600,000 viewers through PSAs and Talk Shows which aired in Sacramento, Fresno and Long Beach
  • More than 2,000 people attended the Community Forums held in Sacramento, Fresno, Long Beach, Santa Ana and San Francisco
  • About 50 middle and high school Mien and Hmong students in Sacramento and Fresno participated in the Storytelling Contest campaign
  • More than 500 Lao and Cambodian community members viewed the video stories

Innovation

In Southeast Asian communities, mental health is often taboo. In fact, there is not an equivalent term among these communities. Our campaign led to opening discussions about mental health in an effort to reduce mental health stigma and discrimination and break the cycle of myths about mental health especially when the communities have high rates of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and where inter-generational conflicts exist.


CalMHSA Videos
Our Story of Hope: Cambodian Video