CalMHSA: Evaluation of California's Statewide Mental Health Prevention and Early Intervention Initiatives
Mar 1, 2022
Interviews and a survey indicate that WhyWeRise, a social marketing campaign promoting community engagement with mental health issues, reached at least 30 percent of Los Angeles County youth ages 14–24 and mobilized them to improve societal support for those experiencing mental health challenges. Those exposed to the campaign were more likely than those unexposed to feel empowered to change how their communities deal with mental health issues.
In May 2018, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) launched WhyWeRise, a social marketing campaign intended to promote community engagement with mental health issues and create a movement to address barriers to mental health access. The campaign targets youth ages 14–24, with the goal of activating youth to advocate for well-being and access to quality mental health care as civil rights. A year later, the campaign still embodies the same general themes, but there was an increased emphasis in 2019 on confronting challenges to mental health and well-being. The current phase of the campaign notes the importance of feeling that life has purpose or meaning, the centrality of hope to well-being, and the need to obtain social support and provide it to others. In both 2018 and 2019, a central part of the WhyWeRise campaign was the WeRise event, which offers a large art gallery, a rally, performances, panels, and workshops.
To gain insight into the WhyWeRise reach and impact, RAND evaluated the campaign broadly and the WeRise event specifically, through in-person interviews of WeRise event attendees and an online survey of youth throughout Los Angeles County. The in-person survey looks at the experiences of those who attended the WeRise event, while the online survey allows for comparison of those who were exposed to the WhyWeRise campaign (through the WeRise event or other means) with those who were not exposed to the campaign.