We recently spoke with Courtney Grimes, licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist at Symmetry Counseling following her recent appearance on a Nashville AMA Special Interest Group panel on healthcare. Entitled “Breaking the Silence: Giving a Voice to Taboo Health Issues,” the discussion focused on how to best communicate and educate the marketplace about mental health issues and their treatments.
After battling her own struggle with eating disorders, Grimes has dedicated the rest of her life and her work to shattering the misconceptions surrounding addiction disorders and instead shining a light on the shadows, or “mental health black holes” as she calls them.
“Silence breeds shame,” she says. “The longer people don’t talk about these things, the longer all of these things stay in shadows, the more shame is bred around these issues.” Grimes wants to give a voice to those who don’t have one, in hopes that by doing so the conversation around mental and behavioral health will become less “taboo” and those suffering will be able to recover faster.
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Marketing for Mental & Emotional Health Education
Grimes believes there are five basic areas of human health – physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual – but stresses that the lack of open dialogue around specifically two of those, mental and emotional, has prevented healthcare professionals from reaching those in need the most. Through pointed marketing campaigns, however, Grimes believes we can educate the communities around us, while also attracting and encouraging patients to seek out help.
For small practices like hers, Grimes says the best way to market mental and behavioral healthcare is eye-ball to eye-ball. Successful campaigns she believes have worked include, direct contact with people in the community, informational panels and having open, public discussions so people can simply learn.
“That marketing tactic not only busts up the stigma,” Grimes says, “but allows people to come forward and seek the services that we offer.” She says educating the community also allows them to “understand behavioral and mental health issues affect everyone, absolutely everyone.”
Things to Watch Out for When Campaigning and Advertising
While Grimes wants to educate communities about the global reach mental and behavioral health disorders has, she warns that branding and choosing proper platforms to share your message is critical.
Recently, a company she works for went through a rebranding campaign of their own - changing their name from the Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee to simply “Renewed.” “You want to make your name, your message, your colors, your logo, everything needs to be very warm and inviting,” she says. “Everything needs to be very approachable, non-threatening, non-clinical.”
As for social media platforms, Grimes claims they can be very effective, but require special attention in particular in healthcare spaces that deal with addictions. “You have to be very careful [not to] be triggering to folks who follow you,” Grimes says. “I highly recommend running things by a professional, a clinician, to make sure your target audience is not being negatively affected by your message on a social media platform.”
For more marketing tips in the mental and behavioral health spaces, listen to Grimes complete interview on this episode of Moving Forward with AMA Nashville.