Introduction

WE RISE LA is the signature experience of WHY WE RISE, a public education campaign working to transform the mental health system and increase access to resources. It was originally an idea of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, but has grown beyond that into an independent, grassroots, community initiative. 

WE RISE 2022 was a series of community-led events that support health and healing across Los Angeles County. As a collaborative impact initiative, WE RISE 2022 invested in local organizations, artists and leaders to help strengthen the community by providing health and wellness services and resources in LA county. By embodying a By Us, For Us approach, projects were developed and led by trusted leaders from the communities they represent and shared on social media to encourage other youth to participate themselves leading to a stronger WE RISE community. 

Since the isolation of the global pandemic, WE RISE was needed more than ever to support the increasing mental health needs of 14-24 year-olds. With shared values and an understanding of the critical importance of mental health and healing in youth, WE RISE partnered Mixte for help rolling out its WE RISE 2022 digital campaign to try new strategies that would help reach youth, specifically.

Our Objectives

To advance wellbeing and healing from the collective traumas in communities across Los Angeles County that have contributed to significant health inequities and threaten mental health, especially among youth ages 14-24 and Los Angeles County caregivers and trusted advisors who influence the behavior of youth, by:

  • Enhancing and expanding primary audience understanding of mental health as health and how it is connected to overall wellbeing 
  • Shifting perceptions on how mental health is connected to overall community wellbeing and how healing can happen within communities
  • Promoting awareness of community-based organization (CBO) projects
  • Connecting audiences to resources that support mental health directly and indirectly, including a curated list of community-based, government and other nonprofit supports
  • Promoting the WE RISE website as the online hub for this list of curated resources along with the list of events

Here’s how we did it:

  • First and foremost, we researched mental health in youth and read many articles like this one: The children’s mental health crisis didn’t start with the pandemic
  • We identified key messages and branding elements for the campaign that would appear across all assets to ensure consistency and brand recognition
  • We created a multilingual toolkit that included social media posts across channels, images, website copy and email copy that all CBOs could use easily to spread the word about WE RISE 2022. Then, we hosted a training for 30+ CBOs to ensure everyone knew how to use the toolkit and answer any questions before the campaign launched.
  • We created social media content – and a lot of it! From reels to posts to Instagram Live, we posted and engaged with the community on the chosen WE RISE social media platforms at least once a day
  • Instead of sourcing micro-influencers, we identified and collaborated with six community partners to embody the BY US, FOR US approach of WE RISE. Unlike the average influencer/micro-influencer, the community advocates already knew and loved WE RISE, making it easy for them to post regular video content that we could then repurpose into ads
  • Paid ads on Snapchat and TikTok repurposed community partner content and WE RISE 2021 video content to feature real, relatable people on the platforms most popular among our primary target audience. These ads used pre-identified messaging and were clarified within the toolkits we sent, with the call to action of accessing free resources for health and healing
  • Paid ads on Facebook and Instagram promoted CBO events in May only, since that’s when the bulk of events occured, with the call to action to attend
  • With our support, one of our community advocates hosted an Instagram Live conversation with Dr. Partida, Chief of Psychology and Chief of the Anti-Racism, Diversity, & Inclusion (ARDI) Division for the Los Angeles County Dept. of Mental Health, to answer common questions about mental health in youth during Mental Health Awareness Month. (You can watch it here!)
  • We drafted and sent campaign emails to the WE RISe audience to announce the WE RISE 2022 kickoff and keep them informed of upcoming events and highlights in their community
  • We provided detailed reporting on a weekly and monthly basis, which we used to reflect on what was (and wasn’t working), and shift our strategies as necessary
  • We made recommendations for web development to keep the site on brand and up-to-date with community needs

The Outcome

Within three and half months, our campaign had:

  • Produced 4 million impressions across social media alone
  • Received almost 900,000 video views on Snapchat and TikTok – despite it being WE RISE’s first venture on the platforms
  • Generated more than 9,000 engagements with community partners
  • Tripled traffic to the WE RISE landing page for community-led events and resources during the Mental Health Awareness month of May

In addition, WE RISE brought attention to community events and local resources available to the community, encouraging youth to seek out resources and participate in events. With thoughtful digital strategy that leveraged existing research, community partnerships and channels where our primary audience already spent time, we took significant steps toward health and healing for communities across LA County.