HPB rallies social support against depression

January 8, 2013

If you believe a recent Gallup survey, Singaporeans are ranked one of the most unemotional bunch in the world – no wait, make that a downright unhappy people. (Thankfully, they are not as schizophrenic as Gallup.)

Instead of just talking about depression, the Health Promotion Board advocated a more helpful finding: Rally social support for those feeling down.

Bring the symptoms and issues of depression out into the open. Better still, heighten public awareness and get people to rally round those afflicted.

Since the issue involves so much about social support, we wanted to bring the agenda to the streets and on to social media – to create an outpouring of support.

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Get everyone to help someone step out and come down from depression.

Because people suffering from depression feel isolated in their situation and often hide their feelings, we wanted to provoke those around to look for the symptoms and lend a helping hand – if not their ears, time and care.

No one really should have to feel alone.

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To heighten public awareness, we literally put depression on a pedestal.

We installed a 4-metre high chair at various work places during the lunch hour period and isolated a lonely, depressed character on top. He was in a lonely sea of blue.

The talent exemplified the idea of isolation – lonely, withdrawn, friendless – and invited passers-by to know the symptoms and reach out.

Onlookers engaged in conversations with event helpers and counsellors, and received bookmarks with information on recognizing depression and how they can help.

With an ambient event like this, it soon spread on social media.

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In six two-hour activations, we captured the attention of over 5600 people and distributed 3800 bookmarks.

Photos of the activation on HPB’s Facebook page also got users ‘liking’ and expressing positive feedback on the idea. And the comments were extremely positive and encouraging in the fight against depression.

It’s making a helpful and profound impact, from a small-budget campaign. Hopefully, it’ll help make Singaporeans a more social, caring and happier lot.

Cheer up, Gallup – life’s not as bad as you make it out to be.

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