Summary of the message
The message in question focuses its attention on mental health with an aim of helping people living with mental problems to understand how they can obtain treatment and support from people and institutions that offer such treatment and support. In this respect, the message tries to inform depressed people that depression is an illness as opposed to a weakness. The message emphasizes that target people should seek support and treatment from people and institutions that offer services. Consequently, the message concludes by providing a website that target group can visit as well as the cell phone number these people can call for support and treatment (Thomas 145).
From a theoretical viewpoint, every communication, health communication not excluded, should target a certain group of people. This group is expected to benefit from the message carried by the advert, print, television spot, or any other form of communication used to reach people. In health communication, every advert, print or television spot should carry a specific message for specific group of people. The aim of such a communication medium is to help targeted people benefit from the advert, television spot or print.
In relation to the title of the campaign, the message targets people living with mental problems. In particular, the message targets the youths with depression because majority of the people featured in the advert are youths. With regard to depression, the message categorically states that depression is an illness rather than a weakness. For this reason, depressed people should not contemplate suicide, but rather they should seek treatment and other support from people and institutions that provide such support and treatment to depressed people. In line with theory, this message carries a specific message to depressed people (Thomas 145).
The goal of the message
Apart from targeting a certain group of people, effective communication should also have a specific goal. The goal may be one or many depending on the structure of the message. However, more often than not, one goal is usually the best because target group does not get confused in the communication process. At the same time, it helps in to turn attention to a particular issue rather than to a number of issues. In health like in other professions, health communication has overall goal or goals. That overall goal helps communication to maintain its focus and address a certain issue or issues.
The overall goal for the message in question is to inform people living with depression that they can obtain treatment and support from people and institutions that offer these services. Accordingly, the advert encourages its target people that they should not worry about depression because there are people to turn to for support and treatment. In addition, the message encourages target people that they should not think about suicide. On the contrary, the target people should seek treatment and support from the website listed on the advert or from the cell phone listed on the website as well.
Drawing the attention of the target group is critical in health communication. At the same time, understanding what health communication can do as well as what it cannot do is critical in health because it promotes health in the right way. On one hand, health communication increases the knowledge of intended audiences and influences their perceptions and beliefs. In this respect, it promotes sustained changes that help people adopt and maintain new health behaviors that overcome barriers. On the other hand, health communication cannot compensate for inadequate access to health care (Arkin 3). In this respect, understanding strategies to employ in health communication is critical.
In order to get people to comply with the message’s recommendations, the message under scrutiny provides a link to a website that depressed people can access for support as well as a cell phone number they can call for the same service. In contrast to other messages, this message does not warn target people of the worst thing that can befall them if they do not comply with the message’s recommendations. Instead, it only tries to appeal to them through encouraging words. At the same time, it provides a website link and cell phone number that depressed people can call for help and treatment.
Elements of the message
Just like other lines of communication, effective communication is critical in health communication. It does not only facilitate efficient communication in health, but it also ensures that information reaches the target group. In order to ensure this happens, some elements need to be used effectively. With regard to this issue, the message in question has effectively used the following elements. First, other than relying on words only, the message also relies on pictures. In addition, by so doing, the message catches the attention of target group as current literature demonstrates pictures do (Arkin 5). The message effectively does this by breaking written messages using pictures. In other words, after every sentence in the advert, there is a picture to break the monotony of words. Second, the message contains simple language that is easy to understand. This is evident from the words used in the advert. On the contrary, even if pictures have been used in almost an efficient manner, these pictures have not been used efficiently. In particular, the pictures used in the advert do not relate to the target group because majority of the people on the advert do not appear depressed. For me, failing to use pictures that display depression downplays the role of pictures in adverts. At the same time, the message does not use any language or picture to warn the target group of possible consequences if people in that group do not take the advert seriously. For me such language or pictures could persuade depressed people to seek treatment and support from the website and cell phone provided.
How to improve the message
In order to improve the message, I would recommend the following. First, the message needs to use pictures that identify with the target group. Looking at the pictures in the message, it is likely that these pictures do not identify with the target group because the persons that appear on the advert do not appear depressed. Accordingly, the pictures might not help the target population to make an informed decisions about treatment and support as the message tries to tell these people (Thomas 143). In order to improve the message, the persons appearing on the advert should be depressed or portray symptoms of depression. Second, the message should use pictures or languages that persuade target group to seek treatment and support from the website and cell phone provided on the advert.
Arkin, Elaine. Making health communication program work. Washington: Diane Publishing, 2009. Print.
Thomas, Richard. Health Communication. New York, NY, USA: Springer, 2006. Print.
Yau, Annabel. Mental health campaign (youth television advertisement). V