CalMHSA: Evaluation of California's Statewide Mental Health Prevention and Early Intervention Initiatives
Jun 13, 2023
In response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and subsequent policies, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health launched a campaign to promote awareness of county mental health resources and communicate messages of hope and support. RAND evaluators found that the campaign successfully reached residents, fostered a feeling of support among those it reached, and conveyed how to seek mental health help.
In response to the emergence of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and to policies designed to limit its spread (e.g., shutdowns, stay-at-home orders, and social distancing), the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) launched a social marketing campaign intended to (1) promote awareness of county mental health resources and services and (2) communicate messages of resilience, community, hope, and support. Outreach efforts focused on outdoor media, radio and television advertising, and social media.
To gauge the campaign's effectiveness, RAND evaluators conducted a survey of Los Angeles County residents that was designed to determine the challenges that county adults and youth were grappling with during the initial months of the pandemic; the reach of the campaign to these two age groups; and the likely impact of the campaign on their knowledge, attitudes, behavior, and well-being.
Evaluators also conducted an analysis of mental health–related posts on Twitter in Los Angeles County during the same period. The goal of this effort was to understand which online communities were reached by LACDMH's efforts, what these communities were discussing in relation to the pandemic and mental health, and the extent to which themes of the LACDMH campaign were part of those discussions in relation to other mental health discussions happening among the broader population of county residents using the platform.