“You Be You” Campaign Overview
Many teens struggle to manage the stresses and pressures in their lives from home, school, and social media. For some, these pressures lead to diminished self-esteem, depression or even suicide.
The goal of “You Be You” is to reach teens with a positive message of self-worth and value, as well as reinforce the idea that one doesn’t need to be perfect. Being yourself is good enough.
Bernstein-Rein Advertising donated creative services to develop a campaign aimed at reaching teens year-round, both in and out of school. “You Be You” incorporates compelling messages and appropriate elements to best reach adolescents. Teen focus groups informed the strategy and young professionals participated in the creative process as well as the development of messages. The teen campaign’s major sponsor is Speak Up, a group started by three local families who lost children to suicide.
The campaign includes a website with resources, school-specific videos, social media, posters, stickers, T-shirts, and more. The You Be You campaign is intended for use with other tools like guest speakers in schools, Signs of Suicide (SOS) training for staff and students, and the Text, Talk, Act program to help facilitate discussions about mental health.
“It was important for us to get teen input as we created You Be You so we could be the most effective with the effort,” said Sarah Link Ferguson, GKCMHC Coordinator.
The You Be You campaign has four major components:
• Use of four posters with positive messaging; example: “Progress not Perfection”
• In-school installation of positive messaging—decals for placement on lockers, broken desks, sidewalks, overlays on bathroom mirrors with positive messaging; example “This is broken, You’re not”
• Snapchat filters with messaging found on posters
• Distribution of T-shirts and stickers with same poster messaging
A dedicated web site for You Be You launches this fall, providing another resource for teens.
Speak Up, a GKCMHC program partner, provides crucial support for the You Be You campaign. Three Kansas City area families – Drs. Steve and Karen Arkin, Allie and Jason Doss, and Jan and Jeff Marrs – all of whom lost their children to suicide, started Speak Up in 2016. An annual Speak Up walk raises awareness around mental health and provides crucial funding for You Be You.
“The You be You campaign provides tools for a teen leader to get other teens talking about positive self-image, and discussing mental health and illness as you would any other illness,” Doss said. “Speak Up also provides teachers and administrators a variety of additional resources that they can leverage to help teens struggling with suicide as well.”
Examples of Campaign Materials
Posters with Positive Messaging