32% of male college athletes and 50% of female college athletes experience "crippling anxiety."
In 2016, 21% of male college athletes and 27% of female athletes felt “so depressed that it was difficult to function.”


In January 2013, Brian Hainline, a neurologist, was appointed as NCAA’s first Chief Medical Officer. He said that he was going to make mental health as well known and as understood as concussions have become within the last ten years. This campaign is to hold him accountable.

news articles about the problem

#STRONGINSTRUGGLE CAMPAIGN GOALS: To prevent stigma through awareness using celebrity brands and sponsorships. Guarantee engagement through "nominations" on social media. Also raise money for more substantial mental health services within athletic programs.

Use Instagram as way to connect college athletes, as 59% of users are between 18 to 29 years old. Use Twitter as a platform because it is more evenly spread ( 30% across age demographics) throughout age demographics and therefore can bring awareness to those outside of college communities as well.

Campaign will have one major event throughout its four weeks
  1. Green week for athletes at games, especially ones that are televised
  2. Forums and information sessions about mental illness and resources at colleges and universities
  3. Nike shows a picture of support on their Instagram everyday for a week
  4. Benefit concert at Oregon University, where Nike was founded

INSTAGRAM: team with Nike to create a week of support. At least once a day have a photo of a different athlete either wearing the color with the hashtag as the caption, or a team wearing the accent colors in their uniform, or simply holding up a sign with the written hashtag. Photos should be posted at approximately 8am, 1pm, and 9pm. This the typical beginning, middle, and end of the day for a college athlete, and therefore when they'll be checking their social media accounts.

Examples of Nike Instagram doing week 3 posts

The Nike concert at Oregon will be a concert to raise money for NCAA's funding towards better mental health services for student athletes, who as of now, say they struggle to find support. Nike has a lot of money and so does the NCAA, so this should not be a financial issue.

Along with Nike, have both professional and college athletes Instagramming photos with the hashtag in the caption.

TWITTER: Encourage stories, advice, and sharing to prevent stigma. Get current professional athletes and college athletes to tweet stories, encouragement, or support with the hashtag. Also can be photos like Instagram. Then, like other successful campaigns, nominate one to three others to use the hashtag and show support.

#StronginStruggle will have its own Twitter and Instagram to archive those who participated, as well as have the link to NCAA mental health page in their bio. Will also tweet and Instagram more information that may be missed by those just participating. The accounts will also be constantly updating and posting pictures from the larger events each four weeks.

STATISTICAL GOALS: Increase click-throughs to the NCAA mental health page by at least 40% by the end of the four week campaign.

Get at least 25% of college athletes to participate in the campaign. (Number is based off research on number of college athletes suffering from mental illness).

SIMILAR CAMPAIGNS: "It's Okay to Talk" Campaign for Awareness of Male Depression on Instagram and Twitter

Campaign for men that aimed to take away stigma, which worked because it had visual symbol and hashtag. Works into the idea that people like taking photos of themselves, as well as encouraged engagement by tagging five subsequent people. ((NUMBERS OF HOW IT INCREASED ENGAGEMENT)

"Time to Change" is Youtube campaign, where famous Youtubers talk for five minutes about mental health disorders

This worked for Youtube because it was longer, but this would really only work with Youtubers have really strong followers, who are willing to watch a full 5min length video. The only inspiration from the site is really the idea of talking about mental illness candidly and the use of "celebrity" for exposure.

sources: NCAA, Fox Sports, The Atlantic, Inside Higher Ed., Sprout Analytics

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