PARSIPPANY, N.J., Sept. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Inspired by the experience of a colleague who lost a loved one to suicide, a team of volunteers at the healthcare communications company McCann Torre Lazur, a McCann Health Company, has spent the last two years engaging their creative powers to build a powerful call to action for suicide prevention, showing the world life is worth living.
This Saturday, the team launches the third phase of its #worthliving campaign, called #worthliving: The Orange Project, at a performance by the singer/songwriter Matt Nakoa. The performance will take place at 8PM on Saturday at the social action-focused musical event Ethical Brew in Teaneck, N.J. Using the orange sticky note as a visual vehicle to speak out for suicide awareness, the MTL team's new campaign will utilize digital and social media as well as face-to-face educational events to connect with young people and encourage them to communicate openly about suicide and learn how to spot and respond to the five signs of potential suicide in friends and peers.
While researching ideas for the third year of their suicide prevention campaign, the MTL team learned that suicide among young people is an especially frightening problem – in fact, suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents. With this in mind, the team partnered with the Ideas Foundation, a UK-based organization that seeks out and nurtures creatively gifted young people. The Ideas Foundation's partner schools were offered the opportunity to pitch concepts for the best way to reach their peer group with messaging about suicide. The winning pitch suggested creating "thought notes" – both virtual and actual orange sticky notes – that young people could use to start conversations about suicide and mental health. A web landing page based on this idea and built by the MTL team (worthliving.today) is soft-launching today, with integration to general social media sites coming later in the month. The team's goal is to break a Guinness World Record for the largest online album of handwritten notes.
The Orange Project will go far beyond the virtual world, though. At the launch event, Matt Nakoa, a well-known folk singer and musician, will perform a song he wrote for the occasion, while audience members will participate by hand-writing words of encouragement and hope on orange sticky notes and posting them on a wall. Additionally, the MTL team is working on partnerships with local New Jersey schools with the goal of creating face-to-face educational programs for students.
The #worthliving campaign was initially inspired by the experience of MTL team member Jennifer Dee, whose boyfriend committed suicide in 2013.
"When someone you love commits suicide, there's no handbook, no rules, no guidance for how to handle it," Jennifer says. "No one explains how to deal with the guilt or the grief or the questions. Nobody tells you how to sift through the darkness and come out on the other side. For months afterward I didn't want to do anything but lay in a fetal position for the rest of my life."
But after many months of grieving, Jennifer decided that she needed to take action, to do something to prevent deaths like her boyfriend's or experiences like hers, to break down the silence and stigma that surrounds suicide. She had the idea to use social media to ask people to post images and videos showing that life is worth living. And the resources needed to build a campaign were already around her – the creative talent in her own workplace.
"I knew that the agency and my colleagues could help me get this up and running," Jennifer says. "This is what we do. We are experts in healthcare communications, and it is something we can really sink our teeth into. And literally within minutes of when I pitched the idea, my colleagues at MTL wanted to join in. I had people coming to me saying, 'I want to be on the team, my aunt killed herself three weeks ago," or, "How can I help? My grandfather killed himself." It was extraordinary to me to see how many of us had this connection to suicide, but because of the stigma surrounding it, we just don't talk about it."
The MTL team's campaign against suicide began on World Suicide Prevention Day 2014 with the launch of the hashtag #worthliving. Begun that day – September 10th - with a single tweet, #worthliving quickly outstripped the team's expectations by generating more than 18 million social media impressions around the world, with individuals sharing personal images and comments to show why every day is worth living. The following year, for World Suicide Prevention Day 2015, the MTL team launched #attemptlife, encouraging those who are suffering to share videos of themselves attempting life rather than suicide. The #attemptlife campaign, with support from the International Association for Suicide Prevention, has rolled up more than 10 million social media impressions so far. The goal of this team? To spread hope, and ultimately save a life.
For press tickets to the event this Saturday, contact Marcia Goddard at [email protected] / 973.441.6607
McCann Torre Lazur, part of McCann Health (www.mccannhealth.com), the winner of the coveted Network of the Year Award at 2016 Cannes Lions Health Festival. McCann Health is one of the world's most awarded global healthcare marketing networks and is committed to generating life-changing ideas that improve the health of humanity. McCann Health is part of McCann Worldgroup and The Interpublic Group of Companies.
Ethical Brew is a live music venue located in Teaneck, NJ, dedicated to serving up a quality blend of live music and social action in an intimate and welcoming environment. Ethical Brew is an all-volunteer organization. Fifty percent of the proceeds from each show are allocated to funding worthy social action projects, charities, organizations and progressive causes that reflect the humanist values of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County. The remaining 50 percent helps to fund initiatives of the Ethical Culture Society, a non-profit organization.
The mission of the Ideas Foundation is to increase diversity in the creative industries, identify and nurture creatively gifted young people who are not thriving in the education system, and give them skills to gain employment. We work bridging the gap between the creative industries and secondary education. We have worked with over 100 schools (and growing) in the UK to run engaging projects which aim to teach students real skills that can be transferred into the creative industries.
SOURCE McCann Health