The Brands Marketing Mental Health


 How can my brand support consumers' mental health and wellness?

Many people often struggle with their mental health in secret, but they don't have to. There is no shame in having a mental health disorder — or asking for help and support. As WHO reported, "approximately 10.7 percent of the worldwide population — 792 million people — have a mental health disorder. In the U.S., just prior to the pandemic, 1 out of 5 adults experienced a mental illness," as mentioned in ANA's Sustainability Collective page. 

Mental health disorders rose significantly during the pandemic, which comes as no surprise. As reported in an ANA article, "According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between August 2020 and February 2021, the percentage of adults with symptoms of an anxiety or a depressive disorder increased from 36.4 percent to 41.5 percent."

This is why it's important for brands to help support their consumers during difficult times, which everyone experiences at some point. Being a point of connection, and universalizing these struggles (and turning struggle into a way to deeper connect), makes a huge difference in people's lives. 

For instance, Harry's is focusing on improving men's mental health "to create positive change." The company set a goal to reach 1.5 million men by 2024 and help them receive access to mental health care. This is done by donating on a project by project basis "with a true emphasis on impact and goals, and each proposal has a clear estimate on reach so the company knows exactly how many men will get access to mental health care because of its investment." 

Similarly, to combat and raise awareness on children's mental health issues (in addition to raising money), Stein IAS, a B2B ad agency, released a new children's book, The Not-So-Happy Elf. The book was intended to start a conversation between parents and children, and destigmatize mental health issues children face.

Kevin Tripodi, SVP and creative director at Mower, who partnered with New York-based nonprofit Helio Health to launch its substance abuse campaign "TransformNation," explained how brands and consumers can band together, "A lot of people in our personal networks deal with feeling alone and feel helpless. Making it personal can be a great way to talk about transformation and to help people transform their lives."

His advice to marketers? "Get people to raise their hand, at any level. We give a lot of ways to get involved, and a number of ways to feel empowered. Give people a clear path. The other [important] thing is to make it local. Make it personal."

Below are resources on brands supporting consumer mental health. For more information on mental health and wellness, marketers can visit ANA's Sustainability Collective. Don't forget to check out Mental Health and the Marketing Industry here.


  • Mental Health: What People Expect from Businesses. GWI, June 2022.
    Since the pandemic, the importance of mental health has rightly been amplified. And while mental health issues have worsened, the pandemic showed us just how resilient people are. Leaning into this, it's important to pay attention to what we've learned throughout these past couple of years and the positive action we can take off the back of it.

    In this post, GWI walks through what consumers expect from brands around mental wellness, what activities they're doing more of to protect their wellbeing, and how employers can meet employees where they're at.

  • Mental Health: How Brands are Supporting the Cause. Ad Age, May 2022.
    Two years into the pandemic, health and wellness continues to be an important topic throughout the industry. In this article by Ad Age, check out how brands have stepped outside the box (and in some cases into distant galaxies and virtual worlds), to spark conversations around mental health this year. An example from Headspace and Star Wars:

  • 10 Mental Health Campaigns That are Making a Difference. GWI, February 2022.
    The past few years have upended our lives. We've been navigating mass uncertainty, tight-roping blurred work-life boundaries, and trying to avoid an ever-evolving virus. It's been a rough ride, to say the least. Against this backdrop, it's no surprise consumers around the world have made looking after themselves a priority. 2022 is the year of you: two-thirds of consumers are now more conscious of looking after their physical and mental health.

    Brands are showing their support for this shift, too, with a series of successful mental health campaigns for their customers and employees. For consumers, mental health awareness campaigns aren't necessarily efforts to win business, they're brand-building exercises in standing up for the things that really matter. They can also be a way of building brand loyalty, speaking from the heart, and authentically connecting with consumers. Here, GWI features 10 mental health campaigns to take notes on – and a rundown of what made them so successful. One example from JanSport:

  • Marketers Bolster Their Efforts to Support Mental Health. ANA, January 2022.
    Even before the surge in the COVID-19 Omicron variant, there was ample data chronicling the huge toll the pandemic has taken on people's mental health. Brands in the health care sector are responding proactively, offering new counseling services at or near their retail outlets. The efforts have led marketers to reevaluate how they talk about the highly sensitive subject of mental health and reduce the stigma people have about asking for help.

  • Google Takes on Mental Health. ANA, December 2021.
    At a time when the markets were scrambling to stay afloat, Google's mental health campaign was seen as a genuine way to help its users make the best of the tough times via Google's products and services. The campaign achieved impressive results. Specifically:
    • The campaign's videos were viewed by more than 180 million people across the region.
    • The campaign garnered an overwhelming response from its audience, generating four times more social conversations than the previous Google campaigns.
  • Let's Talk About It: Consumer Trends Across the Mental Health and Wellness Space. EBCO, October 2021.
    Great strides are being made in destigmatizing conversations around issues like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and other serious mental health issues. Star athletes are stepping off the court and musicians have decided not to tour to care for their anxiety, demonstrating how important it is to put one's health first, and re-shaping the way the society perceives mental wellbeing.

    From social media to telemedicine, insurance to CPG, industries across categories are innovating and creating solutions at the consumer level to help people put their mental health first. EBCO picked six leading trends in innovation in the mental healthcare market:
    • Ayurveda and intervention: reconsidering what qualifies under healthcare.
    • TikTok's wellbeing warriors: a new type of influencer.
    • Tracking your brainwaves, empowering your mood: wearable tech senses moods.
    • Easy delivery: access is easier than ever.
    • Support through the screen: seeking community, support, and care.
    • Community models for inclusive wellness: opening doors for all.
  • Social Audience Strategies: Investing in Mental Health. Comperemedia, October 2021.
    Mental illness, an invisible set of disorders that went virtually un-discussed for decades, has gained considerable attention in recent years thanks to individuals who decided to speak up. This led to high-profile celebrities and athletes opening about their own struggles with mental illness, mainstream media weaving themes into storylines, and brands speaking out in support. Brands can help de-stigmatize mental illness through cause-based marketing.

    To run a successful mental wellness marketing campaign, brands need to consider their alliances and intended audience, namely by: Being specific, speaking up on social media, and forming meaningful partnerships. Comperemedia then includes examples from Fidelity, Morgan Stanley, and Maybelline.

  • Pro Bono: The Not-So-Happy Elf. ANA, August 2021.
    Stein IAS, a B2B ad agency, helped start the conversation about mental health between parents and children earlier with a new children's book, The Not-So-Happy Elf. Two alternate viewing experiences, including an augmented reality experience, were offered to get people engaged and donating to the Child Mind Institute (U.S.) and 42nd Street (U.K.) charities.

  • Destigmatizing Mental Health and Addiction. ANA, July 2021.
    To help improve the lives of those struggling with addiction and mental health disorders, the nonprofit Helio Health, in partnership with the agency Mower, created the "TransformNation" campaign. It aims to change people's mindset from helplessness to one of hope, drive action, and promote the message of community and connection.

  • How Harry's Is Getting More Men Access to Mental Health Care. ANA, March 2021.
    Every year, the shaving and personal care company Harry's donates one percent of its sales to charitable organizations that share its ambition to bring quality mental health care to men everywhere. Maggie Hureau, the company's head of social impact, discussed how this work has never been more relevant because the COVID pandemic has magnified an epidemic-level mental health crisis.

  • The Fragile (Im)balance: How Media & Brand Narratives Can Support Women In Times of Crisis. ANA/SeeHer, June 2021.
    In partnership with SeeHer, GWI delved specifically into one of the less spoken about repercussions of COVID for women: the mental strain. The pandemic has had an enormous impact on the mental health and wellness of women overall, as well as in particular groups - like women of color and younger women. This report also explored the role that men play in this dynamic, both in terms of allyship and diverging perceptions. Ultimately the report looks at how media and brand narratives can support women post-pandemic:

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"The Brands Marketing Mental Health." ANA, 2022.