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Technical Assistance: Social Marketing

Drop-in Articles

Click here to access a sample social media policy that can be customized for your grantee's social media accounts.

Four drop-in articles are now available on the Web page to help you raise awareness about children's mental health in your community: "Childhood Trauma in Early Care and Education Settings", "Childhood Trauma and the Elementary School-Age Child", "Awareness Day 2011: A Big Strategy for Small Voices", and "Tips For Recognizing Trauma, Helping Children Build Resilience." For tips on how to effectively use these drop-articles, click here.

Building Resilience in Children and Youth Dealing with Trauma

Click here for trauma and resilience tips to use when planning and hosting your activity or event to best help parents, guardians and caregivers in your community learn how to build resilience in children and youth dealing with trauma.

April 2011

On Thursday, April 21, 2011, the "Caring for Every Child's Mental Health" team held its annual Awareness Day check in call that allows SAMHSA grantees to ask last minute event questions regarding their Awareness Day activities. Wendy Bonner from WIN Georgia shared information about her system of care's Awareness Day activities and Scott LaLonde, events manager for the "Caring for Every Child's Mental Health" team, shared his tips for planning and executing a successful event. Make sure to send information and photographs from your Awareness Day activities and event to AwarenessDay2013@vancomm.com.

Wendy shared that WIN Georgia celebrates Awareness Day throughout the month of May in its 15 county service area. Each county works with its local partners to plan and host the events that will work best for its local audience. Some of the activities include a youth song writing contest, distribution of tip sheets to local programs, PSAs, regional trainings on topics including mental health first aid, various art activities about feelings, mental health festivals, and presentations at schools.

Scott shared the following tips for planning and hosting a successful Awareness Day activity or event.

  • Be sure to distribute permission slips to the day care or elementary school you are working with prior to the event to get the permission of parents for their young children to participate in your event.
  • You will need photo release forms for all event attendees if you have a photographer or videographer at your event. You can either have individual release forms for all attendees or have a sign-in sheet with disclaimer information that photos or videos will be taken that attendees will sign when they check in at your event.
  • Have plenty of bottled water on hand at the event for speakers, attendees, and staff. It's also a good idea to have snacks for your staff to keep their energy levels up throughout the event.
  • If possible, always use microphones and speakers at your event to ensure that everyone can hear your speaker(s).
  • If you don't have budget for a photographer, have a staff member or volunteer take photos with a digital camera.
  • If you are going to have photos or video of an event, think about creating a backdrop for y our speakers that has your logo on it. It could be as simple as a poster on an easel that has your program's logo and the look and feel of the event.
  • Always reserve seats for the speaker(s) and their family and guests.
  • Train your event staff on the layout of the venue so that they can direct attendees when asked.
  • The number one question at events is "where is the bathroom?" Make sure that your event staff know where it is located and if possible create signage directing people to the bathrooms.
  • Create staff badges for every event staff member.

March 2011

On March 15, 2011, the “Caring for Every Child’s Mental Health” team held its annual “Integrated Media Outreach” affinity call to share strategies for media outreach throughout the year. “Caring for Every Child's Mental Health” team members Rachael Siefert, media outreach specialist, and Cameron Lane, digital media strategist, shared their insights and tips for how to effectively build relationships with reporters, use social media, and obtain different types of media coverage. Some of their take-away points include:

  • It is important to think of your media outreach as a year-round activity. Awareness Day is a great opportunity to get media to talk about your system of care or to start building a relationship with a reporter who is interested in the work that you do. Think about other opportunities for your system of care to get media coverage, such as a new partnership with a local organization, the release of new local evaluation data, or a local youth’s success story.
  • Local media outlets are more likely to be interested in your story if you can provide a local angle on a national story, so think about how you can tie your story to a national story to get a lot of coverage.
  • To get reporters to attend and cover your event you need to make sure that you are offering them something unique in a format that works for that specific type of outlet. For example:
    • Radio stations are looking for a unique audio opportunity. You need to be able to tell your whole story through audio in a few sentences.
    • TV stations are looking for a unique visual opportunity. It is not enough to have a press conference, so make sure that you have an interesting visual to offer, like young children working on a mural.
    • Newspapers provide an opportunity for a more in-depth story. You may need to provide background information and have your spokespeople available for interviews.
  • Today’s digital media landscape features a wide range of powerful social media tools. You don’t have to be everywhere at once and use every service available. What’s most important is finding where your audience is and focusing on using that tool effectively. Two of the most popular social media outlets are Facebook and Twitter.
    • Facebook allows you to guide your “fans” to interesting content such as a link to an article published about your system of care. The next step is getting your “fans” to engage with you and each other by commenting on your posts. You should be prepared to respond and interact with this group when positive conversations start. Have links to related content ready to post. Or, simply say thanks for the great comments.
    • Twitter is a “micro blog,” meaning that instead of full-length content authors can post only 140 characters of text. Be prepared to retweet messages that are relevant to your followers, such as a link to an article they may be interested in. Use popular hashtags to insert your tweets into a larger conversation or create your own hashtag to start a new conversation with your audience. For example, people use the hashtag #1in5 to join the national conversation about Awareness Day.

February 2011

On February 17, 2011, the “Caring for Every Child's Mental Health” team held a “Partnership Outreach and Sustainability” affinity call to discuss how to build and expand partnerships. Matt Wojack, project director of Impact: Ingham County System of Care in Michigan, presented on the call with staff, partners, family members, and youth from the system of care. Matt and his team discussed the partnerships they have been able to develop and nurture throughout their grant and how those partnerships have contributed to the sustainability of their work. He communicated the following lessons learned:

  • Developing a logic model gave the Impact system of care a concrete plan and narrowed focus that allowed them to maximize their communication efforts.
  • It is important for agencies to look beyond their immediate focus and look at the community as a whole. It can be challenging to blend all of those focuses, but, once there is a concrete plan for improving the community, the partnership of agencies can create more good than any single agency could achieve on its own.
  • The first step to develop partnerships is to determine the goal of a system of care’s communication activities and the primary audiences that need to be reached. Have a plan for each audience group identified in the communication plan. For example, Impact system of care had data that showed that families did not understand the concept of systems of care. They asked families and youth to help create a video to inform them about what a system of care does for the community and for their family.
  • Forming partnerships in the community helps families and youth feel more empowered because they work with a team instead of independent agencies. This allows them to relay messages to everyone on their team at the same time and lets them know that everyone on their team is working together to support them.
  • All partnerships start small and can grow into a large-scale collaboration. Awareness Day is a great way to bring partners together for a specific goal. This can be a short-term commitment that is formed annually or can develop into a long-term, year-round partnership.

January 2011

On January 24, 2011, the "Caring for Every Child’s Mental Health" team hosted its annual Awareness Day Launch call. Gary Blau, Ph.D., Chief of the Child, Adolescent and Family Branch, Center for Mental Health Services, opened the call by thanking everyone for their great work to make Awareness Day 2010 a success. Lisa Rubenstein, Government Project Officer for "Caring for Every Child's Mental Health," provided information about the theme, date, national event, and local activities.

  • Awareness Day is Tuesday, May 3, 2011.
  • The theme for Awareness Day 2011 is building resilience for young children dealing with trauma.
  • The national event will take place at the Shakespeare Theatre-Harman Center for the Arts in Washington, DC, and consist of an art exhibit and a tribute program. Sponsored by the American Art Therapy Association, the art exhibit will feature contributions from youth who have used art as a resilience tool to deal with trauma. The program will be a tribute to youth who have experienced trauma and the family, friends, and providers who have supported them on their journey to resilience. The tribute will feature video clips of youth recounting the trauma they faced, interspersed with on-stage celebrities reading the same youths’ tales of resilience.
  • A joint award will be presented during the program from the Office of the Secretary, HHS and the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts to a celebrity who has experienced childhood trauma, demonstrated resilience, and used his/her fame as a platform to educate about trauma and resilience.
  • Tip sheets on how to create local art-themed events for Awareness Day are being developed and will be available on the Awareness Day Web page.

December 2010

On December 16, 2010, the Technical Assistance Partnership and the Campaign kicked off its social marketing affinity calls with a discussion about how to start a social marketing committee or workgroup and how to begin developing your social marketing plan.

Did you miss the call? Here are some highlights:

When developing your social marketing plan, remember that your plan should:

  • Be a living document
  • Have a communication goal that is linked to your program goal(s)
  • Have only one communication goal
  • Include input and feedback from your entire team

If you're a system of care community, the Campaign has several tools to help in your social marketing efforts, including a social marketer job description, sample interview questions for hiring a social marketer, and a social marketing plan template and instructions on how to complete it. To obtain these tools, contact your TA Provider or AwarenessDay2013@vancomm.com.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs to talk, please call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

Return to main page of SAMHSA.gov/Children | For more information, click here to email AwarenessDay2014@vancomm.com