- Those exposed to the WhyWeRise campaign were three to five times more likely to have used the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health website or Help Line than those who were not exposed.
- One in four of those attending Los Angeles Dodger games during Mental Health Month were aware of the WhyWeRise campaign.
- The campaign effectively reached Hispanic residents and young adults.
- The predominant reaction in 2020 was that the campaign messages made those individuals reached feel supported; in 2021, the messages predominantly made people feel that their mental health was important.
- One in two of those reached said the campaign gave them new information about how to obtain help with emotions or mental health.
WhyWeRise is a social marketing campaign conducted by the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) that is focused on prevention of and early intervention for mental health challenges among county residents. It is intended to promote community engagement with mental health issues along a continuum from self-care to professional treatment services, reduce barriers to care, and increase awareness of how to seek mental health care. While retaining its commitment to this overarching goal, the campaign has shifted its emphasis over the years since its inception in 2018, responding to changing community needs and refreshing content to maintain and expand community interest. In 2020 and 2021, LACDMH partnered with the Los Angeles Dodgers to expand the reach of the campaign to the Major League Baseball team's audience and spread the WhyWeRise messages to the Dodgers’ extensive Hispanic fan base—a key county demographic with attitudes toward mental illness that sometimes differ from those of other ethnic groups.
To gain insight into the 2020 and 2021 Dodgers campaign reach and potential impact, LACDMH and the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) commissioned the RAND Corporation to conduct an evaluation. We previously evaluated the 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 WhyWeRise campaigns and a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) campaign (Collins et al., 2018; Collins et al., 2019; Collins et al., 2021; Collins, Eberhart, and Roth, 2022). This study builds on our prior work and provides an evaluation of the reach of the 2020 and 2021 Dodgers campaign overall and a focus on the reach and potential impact of outreach to attendees of 2021 Dodger games. We conducted two online surveys of representative samples of Los Angeles County adults ages 18 and older—one evaluating each campaign year and the other of a sample of individuals who attended a 2021 Dodger game during Mental Health Month (May) when outreach was particularly intense.
The results indicated that the campaign with the Dodgers reached a substantial percentage of Los Angeles County residents: Between 11 and 14 percent of adults reported exposure to the campaign depending on the year. The campaign was effective in reaching Hispanic residents and, in 2021, young adults. County residents were primarily exposed to the campaign via social media, radio ads, and ads on the Dodgers’ website. The majority of individuals reached by the campaign found it beneficial, in that it made them feel supported and that their mental health was important. Los Angeles County residents exposed to the campaign were more likely to be aware of county mental health resources in general, 50 percent more likely to be aware of the LACDMH website and LACDMH Help Line specifically, and three to five times more likely to have used the website and Help Line than those who were not exposed to the campaign. Those surveyed who attended Dodger games during Mental Health Month reported that the games made them feel connected to the community and helped them heal from stress, and one in four attendees showed awareness of the broader WhyWeRise campaign.
In summary, there is evidence that the campaign with the Dodgers successfully reached Los Angeles County residents—particularly Hispanic residents and young adults—and may have boosted awareness and use of key county mental health resources.