Cover: Evaluation of Los Angeles County's Fall 2020 WhyWeRise Mental Health Campaign and WeRise 2021

Evaluation of Los Angeles County's Fall 2020 WhyWeRise Mental Health Campaign and WeRise 2021

Published Mar 10, 2022

by Rebecca L. Collins, Nicole K. Eberhart, Ingrid Estrada-Darley, Elizabeth Roth

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Research Questions

  1. Who was reached by the fall 2020 WhyWeRise campaign and the 2021 WeRise effort?
  2. What impact did contact with these efforts have?
  3. How do those exposed to the fall 2020 WhyWeRise campaign and the 2021 WeRise effort compare with those who were not exposed?

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. The primary aim of the fall 2020 WhyWeRise campaign was to continue to raise awareness of resources available to support mental health in Los Angeles County, increase perceptions of support, and foster feelings of hope and connection. WhyWeRise includes WeRise events each spring. Because of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, WeRise events in 2021 were held both online and in person.

LACDMH and the California Mental Health Services Authority commissioned the RAND Corporation to conduct an evaluation of the reach and impact of the fall 2020 WhyWeRise campaign and the 2021 WeRise online events. Surveys found that WhyWeRise successfully reached Los Angeles County residents, especially Hispanic residents and those who are economically and educationally less advantaged. Those whom the campaign materials reached agreed that the materials made them feel that their mental health was important. Los Angeles County residents exposed to the campaign were more likely to be aware of the information and resources offered by LACDMH and to say that LACDMH is available for them if they need help. Those who attended WeRise online events said they felt empowered by the events, connected to community, and hopeful about the future. They also said that they knew where to find mental health resources.

Key Findings

The pivot to include online WeRise events in response to COVID-19 and associated restrictions on social contact was successful

  • Nine in ten of those who attended most of the events said afterward that they knew how to find mental health information or resources if needed and felt empowered to care for their own well-being.

The WhyWeRise campaign reached an impressive percentage of Los Angeles County residents

  • About half of adults reported exposure to the campaign.
  • Residents reported exposure to the campaign via both major forms of outreach: broadcast media (television and radio ads) and outdoor ads.
  • The campaign was effective in reaching all major racial/ethnic groups, particularly Spanish-preferring Hispanic residents and those with lower income and less education.

Most survey respondents said that the campaign made them feel their mental health was important and provided new information on how to get mental health help

  • The campaign was effective in driving respondents to the LACDMH website and Help Line, although reported overall rates of use for both resources were low.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was funded the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) and conducted by the Access and Delivery Program within RAND Health Care.

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