From the beginning of the pandemic, COVID-19 took a toll on America’s mental health. With such an unprecedented situation, everyone had their own way of coping. This was just as true in Maine. That’s why the state’s Department of Health and Human Services created StrengthenME: to offer resources and support that works for the unique needs of Mainers.
Our campaign was rooted in the common experiences we all share: lockdown. Zoom fatigue, cabin fever, and a recognition that the pandemic impacts people in different ways, on different levels. And none of it is good for mental wellness. We wanted to communicate the danger of keeping your emotions locked up and drew a parallel with the stress people were feeling by staying inside.
We focused on the effect COVID has on all of us. The faces of stress and anxiety are diverse—just like Maine. And it affects all different groups within the state. We crafted a consistent message with visuals that represented the Maine population to build solidarity and empathy for all. We shared our messages statewide across multiple platforms, with everything from TV to door-hangers.
The campaign launched in spring of 2021, as vaccinations began to roll out and we were beginning to return to some day-to-day activities. Response was immediate, with interactions increasing from a handful each day to several hundred. We’ve since updated the creative to reflect the changing course of the pandemic. The result: a more unified community, a team of state and community partners helping fellow Mainers, and individuals receiving the resources and support they need to get through one of the toughest times we’ve ever faced.